Ganglion- Lump on the wrist or something more?
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.
What Are Ganglion Cysts?
Ganglion cysts are non-cancerous, fluid-filled lumps that develop near the joints, tendons, or ligaments, commonly found in the wrist area. These cysts can vary in size and often have a firm, rubbery texture. While they are generally harmless, they can be bothersome due to their location and pressure on surrounding structures.
Causes of Ganglion Cysts
The exact cause of ganglion cysts remains somewhat elusive. They often develop in response to mechanical stress or irritation to a joint or tendon. Potential contributing factors include:
Joint or Tendon Injury: A previous injury to the wrist, such as a sprain or strain, can trigger the formation of a ganglion cyst.
Overuse: Repetitive wrist movements or stress on the wrist can lead to the development of a cyst.
Joint or Tendon Degeneration: Osteoarthritis and wear-and-tear on the wrist joint can contribute to ganglion cysts.
The symptoms associated with ganglion cysts can include:
Visible Lump: A noticeable bump or lump on the wrist, which may be soft and movable.
Pain: Discomfort or pain may occur when the cyst presses on surrounding nerves or joints.
Restricted Mobility: In some cases, the cyst’s presence can limit wrist movement and dexterity.
How to Treat a Ganglion?
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.
Book your chiropractor appointment with one of our Paddington chiros and we will be able to have a thorough assessment. If you think you sustained a sports injury, speak to us about our approach towards sports rehabilitation.
Hi, I’m Michael; Chiropractor, Dad, science enthusiast, active weightlifter and keen sportsman. I work with busy and active people who are struggling with pain to find relief from their symptoms so that they can return to an active lifestyle, get through their work day and their workouts without having to pop a pill so that they can feel happier and healthier in their body.