Ganglion cysts are the most common growths of the hand and wrist and more frequently seen in women though are still very common in men. They tend to occur in adulthood between the ages 20 and 40 years old, they are benign growths and are very easy to treat.
While they can also occur in the leg, the ankle the shoulder and the jaw they are mostly seen about the wrist and hand tend to be very obvious to the naked eye. They tend to affect the thumb side of the wrist and the back of the hand more than the palmer side of the hand or the little finger side of the wrist. They may look large, abnormal and threatening but they are really only a sac of fluid and are quite harmless.
Because we live in Australia, with our sunny skies and risk of skin cancer it’s always worth getting an opinion on any odd lump or bump you find. If it’s painful, if it’s growing quickly, or if it’s changing shape or colour then doubly so. If your health professional tells you it’s a ganglion cyst then you’ve got no real reason to worry. When you go to your doctor with one of these bumps they might use a needle on it to drain it out and confirm its contents, but most of them will resolve by themselves.
Most of these cysts seem to occur in area of high wear or rubbing against other tissues, a chiropractor or physiotherapist might try and release the tight muscles around the area of the cyst to stop the local tissues rubbing on each other. Most often these lumps will resolve by themselves and it has been my experience that some simple advice, like changing the angle at the wrist during repetitive activities, will see them disappear over the course of a week.
That being said, even if your health professional has told you your bump is a ganglion and it doesn’t go away, you should go back to them and check again. A ganglion that doesn’t resolve quickly by itself will often be taken out surgically and biopsied. Most of these excised lumps will still prove to be harmless benign growths, but it pays to be cautious.