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TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute

Ganglion/Mucous Cysts

Both TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine utilize the latest hand and wrist treatments to help relieve your pain and get you back to doing the activities you love. If you’re suffering from painful ganglion cysts, mucous cysts or require a diagnosis for another hand condition, our experts can help.

Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts and mucous cysts are benign, fluid-filled sacs that can develop on the wrist or near the tips of the fingers. They usually form on the tendons of a joint, which are the soft tissues holding two bones together. Although not usually painful, large cysts may press on nearby wrist or finger nerves and cause discomfort. If you notice a lump or bump on your fingers, hand or wrist, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis in case there’s a more serious underlying condition.

Ganglion cysts causes

Experts aren’t sure what causes ganglion cysts and mucous cysts, but possible explanations include:

  • Connective tissue that turns viscous and gel-like over time (myxoid degeneration)
  • Natural defects or weaknesses in tendons that allow soft tissue to protrude
  • Past joint or tendon injuries

Ganglion cysts symptoms

Ganglion cysts appear as fluid-filled sacs or bumps that can vary in size. They may be completely painless, though larger cysts may press on nerves and cause the following symptoms:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness

Ganglion cysts treatment

A ganglion cyst or mucous cyst often goes away on its own. If the condition isn’t painful or affecting your ability to move the joint, treatment may not be necessary. Symptomatic cysts are usually treated with:

  • Bracing—a brace can immobilize the joint and take pressure off the tendons and nerves, helping the cyst to go away on its own.
  • Aspiration—this simple procedure uses a needle to drain the mucus from the cyst. Aspiration is usually followed with a steroid injection and a splint.
  • Surgery—large or recurring cysts can be removed surgically. The weakened or defective section of the tendon sheath may need to be removed with the cyst. Ganglion cyst removal surgery is usually followed by physical therapy.

Ganglion cysts risk factors

Certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing ganglion cysts or mucous cysts, including:

  • Women are more likely than men to develop hand cysts.
  • People with osteoarthritis or other degenerative joint conditions may be more prone to cysts.
  • Past joint or tendon injuries can cause weakened connective tissue, which can lead to cyst development.

Ganglion cysts prevention

Keeping your joints healthy is the best way to prevent ganglion cysts and mucous cysts on the wrist, fingers and hand. Tips include:

  • Avoiding occupational hazards and activities that can lead to joint injuries
  • Quitting smoking (tobacco can damage to tendons and other soft tissues)
  • Resting the wrists and fingers after long periods of exertion
  • Stretching the hands, wrists and finger joints regularly

Make an appointment

Ganglion cysts and mucous cysts are relatively common conditions. When painful, these growths can be treated quickly and effectively by our expert team. Learn more or make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist: Call TriHealth at 513 246 2300 or our orthopedic partner, Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, at 513 961 HAND or 513 961 4263.

TriHealth Orthopedic and Spine Institute
TOSI: 513 246 2300
Beacon: 513 354 3700
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