Discovering the formation of bumps on your skin is not only unsightly, but can also be alarming. What are they? Why did they form? Are they dangerous? What can you do to eliminate them? Will it hurt?
Though there are plenty of alarming health conditions, it’s important to know that while ganglion cysts are tumors, they are non-cancerous and harmless. However, due to the discomfort they cause, it’s important to seek medical treatment.
What Is a Ganglion Cyst?
Ganglion cysts are lumps that usually develop on the wrist or ankle joints. They are filled with fluid and are often painful, especially if you put pressure on them. To add insult to injury, depending on their size, they may also affect the range of motion of the affected joint. A person may develop one or several of them within the joint. And they can gradually increase or decrease in size.
While they usually appear near hands and feet, it’s also possible for them to develop behind a person’s knee (also known as a Baker’s cyst), around the fingers or feet, or on the palm of the hand.
Why Is It Called a Bible Bump?
These types of cysts are sometimes called Bible bumps because historically, people have tried to flatten them out by laying a heavy book on top of them. The most common book used for this purpose would tend to be the Bible. That being said, we don’t recommend using this antiquated approach, since it could end up damaging soft tissue in your joint and cause additional pain and bruising.
Do Ganglion Cysts Go Away on Their Own?
Up to 50% of ganglion cysts disappear on their own. They start getting smaller in size until they disappear. However, it’s possible for them to reappear.
Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts
Due to their appearance, ganglion cysts are easy to recognize. A person who suffers from them will notice the following signs:
- Round bump(s) start appearing on a joint (usually wrists or ankles)
- The bump feels like it’s filled with fluid or a jelly like substance
- They change in size (can range from the size of a pea to the size of a golf ball)
- Weakness around the affected area
- Pain when moving the joint
- The bump can sometimes feel numb.
While they’re sometimes painless, people who do feel pain usually experience a worsening of symptoms when they move the joint.
Causes and Risk Factors of Ganglion Cysts
The cause of ganglion cysts is unknown. However, there are several risk factors:
- Gender: They are more common in women
- Age: They tend to appear between the teenage years and 40 years of age
- Trauma to the joint
- Overuse/repetitive motion
They’re also likely to reoccur in people who have experienced them.
Diagnosis of Ganglion Cysts
There are several ways to diagnose a ganglion cyst: The doctor may put slight pressure on the bump to determine whether it’s a hardened mass or a fluid-filled sac. Depending on size, the doctor may also order x-rays or an MRI to rule out any other possible conditions.
Treatment of Ganglion Cysts
Since such a substantial number of ganglion cysts disappear on their own, surgery is rare. Your doctor will likely choose conservative treatments, such as immobilizing the joint or removing the liquid forming the cyst using a syringe.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you think you may have a ganglion cyst, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.