Ganglion cysts are the most common form of lump or mass in the hand. Cysts can appear in many locations in the upper extremity but are most common around the wrist and at the end of the finger adjacent to the nail.
Causes and risk factors
- Most common in younger people between the ages of 15-40
- Women are more often affected
- Common among gymnasts or athletes in sports that apply continuous pressure to the wrist
- Cysts on the finger joint are often associated with arthritis
- Visible lump, although some cysts remain hidden under the skin
- Pain due to pressure on the joint
- Large cysts can cause concern about appearance
Diagnosis and treatment
Ganglion cysts often don’t require surgery and may disappear or reduce in size with time. Initially treatment involves rest, bracing, activity modification and over the counter pain medication. Another non-operative treatment is called aspiration, where the skin around the cyst is anesthetized and the fluid inside is drained with a needle. If symptoms are not relieved by these methods, an orthopedic surgeon may offer a surgical procedure called excision.