The Characteristics of Ganglion Cysts

Scientists still do not understand the exact causes of ganglion cysts. However, the development of cysts is sometimes associated with the following:

While most ganglion cysts are not painful, patients could experience the following types of signs and symptoms:

  • The sudden or gradual emergence of a smooth, fluid-filled lump
  • Pain when walking, running, or playing sports
  • Discomfort or tingling, especially if the cyst is located near a nerve

Ganglion cysts can emerge suddenly or develop slowly, gradually growing larger with time. While ganglion cysts are not cancerous, they can make everyday activities uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

Treating a Ganglion Cyst

Podiatrists have found that most ganglion cysts resolve without treatment, usually receding and disappearing within a matter of days, weeks, or months. However, ganglion cysts can linger for anywhere between 12 and 18 months without treatment.

If a ganglion cyst is painful or otherwise problematic, your podiatrist might recommend any of the following strategies and procedures:

Reducing Pressure

Ganglion cysts may improve if patients deliberately reduce pressure on the area surrounding the cyst. Since the feet are both sensitive and integral to motion, reducing pressure on a cyst can be difficult. Podiatrists typically recommend that patients wear comfortable shoes or custom orthotics.

Lifestyle Changes

Since physical trauma and over-use could contribute to the formation of ganglion cysts, you may be instructed to reduce physical activity until the cyst either disappears or shrinks to a more manageable size.


A splint, or brace, can be fitted around the cyst-affected area. A splint can immobilize the ganglion cyst, preventing irritation and potentially reducing inflammation.


Aspiration is the process of removing or withdrawing fluid or tissue through a needle. Since ganglion cysts are fluid-filled, your podiatrist could drain the sac using a hypodermic syringe. While aspiration can reduce the size of a ganglion cyst, and mitigate any related symptoms, some cysts refill.

Surgical Excisions and Ganglion Cysts

If a cyst is unusually painful or interferes with a patient’s quality of life, your podiatrist might recommend surgical excision. Ganglion cyst surgeries usually involve the application of local or general anesthesia. After the area around the cyst has been anesthetized, your podiatrist will remove the entire cyst, including the thin sleeve surrounding the affected joint or tendon.

Surgical excisions can reduce the long-term likelihood of a cyst recurring or reappearing. However, because scientists do not yet understand the causes of ganglion cysts, surgery cannot guarantee that a cyst will not eventually return.

Speaking to Your Podiatrist About Ganglion Cyst Surgery

Before considering surgery, your podiatrist will most likely explore less-invasive solutions. Be honest with your podiatrist, and try to remember the following:

  • When did the cyst appear?
  • Did the cyst emerge after a physical accident, an intense workout, or a sporting event?
  • Is the cyst growing larger, or has it retained its shape and size?

If your podiatrist believes you might benefit from surgical excision, they may ask additional questions about your health, fitness, and overall medical well-being.

While ganglion cyst removals are usually risk-free, side effects could include, but are not limited to, the following:

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or any other medical condition that could adversely affect your body’s ability to heal from a surgical procedure, inform your podiatrist and ask questions about your possible recovery.

Are You Suffering From Ganglion Cysts In The Caldwell Or Meridian, Idaho Area?

If you're suffering from ganlion cysts you owe it to yourself to speak with our experienced podiatrists as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 208.855.5955 to schedule your appointment. We service all areas surrounding Meridian, Idaho as well as all areas in the Caldwell, Idaho area. We look forward to helping you!

Dr. P. Roman Burk
Providing experienced private practice podiatry services in the Caldwell and Meridian, ID area since 2007.