How to Shrink a Ganglion Cyst

person walking with immobilization boot and crutchesIt could appear out of nowhere and cause a huge lump on the top of your foot, or it could start small and gradually grow larger over time. A ganglion cyst is a benign sac of fluid that grows out from a tendon sheath or joint capsule and is attached to it by a thin stem of tissue. You may think the growth unsightly, or it may be causing some discomfort, so how do you shrink it or get rid of it?

First, we’ll explain now NOT to handle that firm or squishy lump on the top of your foot. Please don’t hit it with a heavy book (sometimes called Bible therapy), which could cause damage to surrounding bones and tissues. Also, please don’t try to drain it like a blister. The fluid is very thick and sticky and hard to remove, and you risk infection by inserting foreign objects into your skin.

The best thing to do is to call Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center and have our foot specialists take a look at it. We can determine if it is indeed a cyst or a more serious issue. Then we can decide if it needs treatment. If it is not painful, irritated by shoes, or causing numbness, you may not need to treat it.

If symptoms are bothering you, we can treat it in one of three ways. Immobilization may keep the cyst from getting worse or more painful by limiting joint movement with a splint, until it goes down in size and the pain is relieved.

To aspirate it, we insert a hollow needle and draw out the gel-like fluid. This is done with a numbing medication and possibly with an enzyme injection first—to make the fluid easier to remove. We may also inject a steroid medication afterward to keep the cyst from returning.

If these two methods don’t work, or the cyst keeps returning, we may suggest surgery to remove the sac and the stem. There are some risks with surgery, and even then it is possible that it may return, but this is a reliable means of getting rid of a ganglion cyst.

Please contact our office in Golden or Wheat Ridge, CO for an appointment if you are concerned about a lump on your foot. Dial (303) 423-2520 on contact us online to set up a convenient time.

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