A ganglion cyst is a noncancerous fluid-filled mass. It tends to form near tendons or joints of the foot or ankle. They can also occur in the wrists or hands. They are typically round or oval in shape and are filled with a jelly-like fluid.
The size of a ganglion cyst can range from pea-sized to large golf ball-sized. They can be non-painful, but they can become painful if they press on a nearby nerve. Depending on the location of the cyst it can cause shoe gear irritation.
If you have a ganglion cyst and it is causing you pain or discomfort you should contact your foot and ankle specialist to have the cyst addressed. The doctor will do a clinical examination, make a diagnosis, and determine whether or what treatment is needed. They may offer certain treatments including draining the cyst with a needle or having the cyst surgically removed.
Factors that may increase your risk of ganglion cysts include:
- Your sex and age. Ganglion cysts can develop in anyone, but they most commonly occur in women between the ages of 20 and 40.
- Arthritis. People who have wear-and-tear arthritis in the joints are at higher risk of developing ganglion cysts near those joints.
- Joint or tendon injury. Joints or tendons that have been injured in the past are more likely to develop ganglion cysts.