A ganglion is a gelatinous fluid-filled, out-pouching of the lining of a joint or tendon. Typically, ganglion cysts grow slowly and occur on the foot or ankle. Historically, ganglion cysts have been referred to as a bible cyst; referring to the practice of hitting the cyst with a book, or bible, to flatten the cyst. However, because the cyst is well encapsulated, the cyst usually reappears.
Often minor trauma or repetitive trauma can irritate that lining of a joint or tendon sheath and cause a ganglion cyst to develop.
Ganglions develop and growth with little or no symptoms. However, if located along a bony prominence pain can develop. Tingling or numbness can also occur if the ganlion cyst overlies the course of a nerve.
Diagnosis is often made by your Podiatric Foot and Ankle Surgeon during a physical examination. Several soft tissue masses present in a similar fashion but can be rule out based on their defining characteristics. Other diagnostic tools include a needle biopsy or an MRI which are used to confirm a diagnosis.
Non-surgical treatment, including needle aspiration and padding, may temporarily relieve symptoms. However, if the encapsulated cyst is not removed in its entirety the cyst will reform. Therefore, ganglion cysts are often difficult to treat without surgery.
Surgical treatment is designed to remove the cyst and a small amount of the surrounding tissue to decrease the likelihood that the cyst will return.