A ganglion cyst is a benign mass of tissue that forms below the skin. They are most likely to develop in the wrist but are also common in the foot. Ganglion cysts can vary from large to small in size, can decrease or increase in size over time, or even disappear and reappear later.
Though the exact cause is unknown, ganglion cysts are thought to be caused by trauma in the affected area.
This could be either a one-time injury or the result of repetitive strain over time.
Signs & Symptoms
Ganglion cysts in the foot usually develop on the top of the foot first. They may appear quickly or show up slowly over the years. Many cysts don’t cause pain or other symptoms. However, symptoms may occur if the cyst is touching a nerve, tendon, or joint in your foot.
Signs and symptoms of a ganglion cyst include:
- Burning or tingling sensation (means the cyst may be pressing on a nerve)
- Pain (means the cyst may be touching a tendon or joint)
- Discomfort and irritation when wearing shoes (caused by the size of the cyst)
If there are no symptoms associated with your ganglion cyst, your doctor may advise you to keep an eye on it and report any changes in your symptoms or the size of the cyst.
Change in Footwear – If your shoes are rubbing against your cyst uncomfortably, you may want to consider finding a pair that provide more padding or space for your foot. This may help to relieve some of your symptoms.
Aspiration – The fluid can be drained from your cyst, causing the mass to go down, but this won’t prevent the cyst from coming back.
Cortisone Injections – Corticosteroid injections are often given after the cyst is drained to help prevent the cyst from returning. However, there are some risks associated with these injections, such as bone death, infection, skin discoloration, and allergic reaction.
Surgery – If your cyst is resistant to other treatments, you may need to have it surgically removed. There is a much lower rate of recurrence with surgery than with other treatment methods, however, there is no way to guarantee that the cyst will never come back.