A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled sac. It is usually attached to the membrane that surrounds a tendon or a joint lining. Ganglion cysts usually appear on the back of the wrist. They may also be on the underside of the wrist, hand, fingers, or feet. Ganglion cysts are not cancerous.
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The cause of ganglion cysts is not known.
Ganglion cysts are more common in young people and women. Participating in sports that put a lot of repeated stress on wrists increases the chance of developing a ganglion cyst.
Symptoms can include:
- A soft bump, usually on the back of the wrist
- Pain or tenderness at the site of the bump, but they do not always result in pain
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Most ganglion cysts are easily diagnosed based on the location and appearance.
If the diagnosis is not clear, imaging studies or a biopsy may be done to help confirm the diagnosis.
Some ganglion cysts go away without treatment. If the cyst is tender or unsightly, treatment may be wanted. Even with treatment, ganglion cysts can return.
Note: Do not attempt to smash the cyst with a heavy object, a traditional home remedy. This is unlikely to get rid of the cyst, but it is likely to cause injury.
There are no current guidelines for preventing ganglion cysts.