Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ganglion Cysts

I have been having a great summer so far except for the developement of a painful ganglion cyst on my left wrist. 

A ganglion cyst is a fluid filled sac on a joint or covering a tendon.  This cyst is not harmful and accounts for around half of all hand tumors.  They are usually found in the hand or wrist, but can rarely be found on or near the knee or ankle.  One theory is that these cysts are caused by acute or chronic trauma to a joint or tendon (WebMD).  I have a tendency to develope these cysts on my hands and wrists, and a few years ago I did have one on the back of my left ankle.

They are also known as Bible Bumps, because one nontraditional cure is to hit it with a heavy book, which ruptures the fluid filled sac and gets rid of the cyst (Wikipedia).  The nontraditional method is not recommended by the medical community, since the wack may cause damage to the surrounding bones or tissue. 

The more traditional treatment is to have the cyst's gel like contents aspirated, or to have it surgically removed by a doctor (  In the past I have used both traditional (aspiration) and nontraditional (a good wack) to get rid of ganglion cysts.

This cyst started putting a damper on my activities.  It is aggrevated by rowing, paddling, riding, sailing, yoga, keyboarding, driving... just about anything that involves using my wrist. 

Last week after getting home from Montana, I went to visit my hand surgeon to have the painful cyst aspirated.  The cyst (smaller), but not the pain returned.  My dilema is now whether to pursue the tradional route go back to the doctor for multiple aspirations and possibly surgery, to pursue the nontraditional route and hit it with a book, or do nothing unless continues to grow and the pain returns.

I think at this point I will take the conservative and whimpy course of treatment, and do nothing unless it starts to hurt or impede my function again.  I will add a comment at a later date if I change my course of treatment.


  1. A little over a year after I wrote this piece, the ganglion cyst is gone. I never had the surgery. I tried banging it initially, all that did was make it hurt and get worse.
    The doctor prescribed a wrist splint to take some of the strain. I wore it for about 3 months. It helped. The cyst shrank and finally went away. Its been gone since December. Sue

  2. I have had one on my left wrist for years! My dad had one in the exact same location that eventually went away-his mother had one in the same spot that eventually went away. My seems to get worse and then better but never goes away completely. My daughter also has one but hers is on the right wrist. I am think there must be a genetic connection to these.

  3. Keep a big fingernail file at the bath tub, soak your feet for awhile till they get soft,, then you can file the calluses smooth, apply cream to your feet often. Hope this helps the footsies.