A ganglion cyst is a swelling filled with a viscous fluid near a joint or tendon like fingers, wrist or hand. Depending upon the size of the cyst, it may be soft or hard. It may be as small as a pea or up to an inch in diameter. The viscous jelly like fluid in the cyst is known as synovial fluid.
The symptoms associated with ganglion cysts may be summarized as under:
- Location – Ganglion or synovial cysts generally develop along the tendons or joints of the wrists, hands, ankles or feet. They can, however, also occur near other joints.
- Shape and size – Ganglion cysts are either round or oval. They are usually less than an inch in diameter. Some small cysts may not even be felt. The size can fluctuate and it gets larger if you use the joint for repetitive movements.
What causes a ganglion cyst is not exactly known. It just grows out of a joint or the lining of a tendon and looks like a small balloon with thick lubricating fluid inside it. The fluid, called synovial fluid, is similar to the one found in joints or around tendons.
Though ganglion cysts can develop in any individual, women between the ages of 20 and 40 years, patients of osteoarthritis with wear-and-tear arthritis of the finger joints and people who have earlier injured their joints or tendons are more at risk of developing ganglion cysts.
Ganglion Cyst Pain
Ganglion cysts are generally painless. However, if a cyst presses a nerve, it can cause pain, numbness, tingling or muscle weakness. Acute or repeated trauma can also cause pain in a ganglion cyst. Ganglion cyst pain is generally non-stop and it gets worse with joint motion. When the ganglion is connected to a tendon, there may be a feeling of weakness in the affected area, particularly if it is a finger which is affected.