Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled, non-cancerous sacks that typically occur along the joints of the wrists and ankles where your ligaments and joints secrete fluid. Though benign, ganglion cysts can cause pain and discomfort and may interfere with movement.
A patient with a ganglion cyst will typically notice a small, round, or oval lump on the joint of the wrist or ankle. The lump itself is soft and feels like it’s filled with jelly. Sometimes, ganglion cysts are larger, around the size of a nickel or quarter.
Ganglion cysts are usually not painful, but they can interfere with the movement of the joint, such as making handwriting difficult. Patients may notice that the size of the cyst changes in size, typically filling with more fluid and becoming larger with the repeated movement of the affected joint. If the cyst is pressing on a nerve, it can cause pain, tingling, and numbness around the affected area.
Most ganglion cysts don’t require treatment, but if the cyst is bothersome, there are homeopathic remedies for ganglion cysts. Currently, no large-scale scientific studies exist that prove the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies for ganglion cysts, so be sure to check with your doctor before adding any herbs, vitamins, or other homeopathic remedies to your regimen.
In addition, there are several natural ways to treat a ganglion cyst at home, including:
Limiting your movement – Overuse of a joint can cause a ganglion cyst to increase in size, possibly also causing more pain and discomfort. Limit the use of the affected joint. A brace may help you to keep the joint immobile and therefore reduce swelling and symptoms of a ganglion cyst.
Warm compress – Applying a warm compress to the ganglion cyst may help the fluid drain from it, decreasing the cyst’s size and reducing symptoms.
The top of the foot is a common location for patients to develop ganglion cysts. Since people are on their feet every day, ganglion cysts of the foot seem to cause more discomfort than ganglion cysts of the wrists.
If you have a ganglion cyst on the top of your foot, one thing that can help with any pain or discomfort is wearing loose-fitting shoes. Tight shoes can press on the cyst, which therefore presses on nerves in the foot and can cause pain. You can also use the remedies for ganglion cysts listed above such as warm compresses and limiting movement.
If home remedies for ganglion cysts don’t provide the level of relief you were hoping for, draining the cyst or having it removed via surgery can help. Medical treatments for ganglion cysts include:
Draining the cyst – When you come in to have your cyst drained, your doctor will insert a specialized needle into the cyst to drain the fluid inside it. By draining the fluid, the cyst itself deflates and no longer presses on the surrounding tissue. Fluid in the cyst can return, however, making aspiration only a temporary solution for a ganglion cyst.
Ganglion cyst surgery – In ganglion cyst surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will remove the cyst from your wrist or foot permanently. Ganglion cyst surgery is done under general anesthesia and is an outpatient procedure.