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Ganglion Cysts

Finding a lump or bump where it shouldn’t be can often bring a surge of concern. Thankfully, those that are discovered along a joint, ligament, or tendon on top of the foot are often what is known as a ganglion cyst. While these growths can sometimes be bothersome and need treatment, they rarely present any immediate danger.

Woman Checking CystFluid in the Foot

A ganglion cyst can appear on top of the foot or along the ankle, but can also be found on the wrist and hands. It takes the form of a sac filled with a thick, jelly-like liquid that bulges out from around a joint or tendon. A cyst will sometimes change in size with the amount of fluid inside it, but usually remains round and about 1-3 cm in diameter. There may or may not be pain, depending on the location of the cyst. If it presses against a nerve, there may also be sensations of tingling, numbness, or weakness.

It is not exactly known what causes such a cyst to form, but one theory suggests that an injury to the area can cause tissues to break down and eventually lead to one. It is also possible that a flaw in a tendon can cause the joint tissue to swell out and fill with liquid. A joint or tendon that has been injured in the past might be more likely to develop a cyst; however, the condition is most frequent in women ages 20-30.

Don’t Thump the Bump!

What is the best way to treat a ganglion cyst? There is one “home remedy” that suggests thwacking the lump with a heavy object such as a large book—in fact, these growths are sometimes called “Bible cysts” because the book was often the heaviest weapon in a home’s arsenal. Regardless, do not attempt this remedy. Striking oneself in such a way might cause further damage and a load of unnecessary pain.

If you discover a lump in your foot, the best option is to see a podiatrist such as Dr. Kevin Powers. First of all, it is always helpful to make sure that the lump is indeed a cyst and not a more serious condition. If the lump is identified as a cyst, then a proper course of treatment can be determined.

In many cases, the best form of treatment may be none at all. Most cysts will tend to disappear on their own. For those that are recurring or causing some form of discomfort, however, actions may need to be taken. Fluid may be drawn out of the cyst in a procedure known as aspiration, shrinking the sac and relieving pressure. This does not guarantee that the cyst will not return, however. Immobilization of the area might also be recommended to keep the cyst from being aggravated and growing larger.

If other methods fail to provide enough relief or eliminate the cyst, surgery might then be considered to remove the cyst and its connection entirely.

Our Bloomington, IN office is here to help you with ganglion cysts as well as any other lump, bump or problem you find in your feet and ankles. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (812) 333-4422 and take the first steps toward comfort and peace of mind today.


“Dr. Powers removed a cyst from the bottom of my foot. From the initial visit through the last follow-up visit after surgery, everything went great. Dr. Powers explained everything and was so kind and patient with all my questions. I am so happy to be able to walk without limping and no pain. I am very grateful to Dr. Powers and his wonderful staff.” — Kathy Martin

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