Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled pockets that can develop in several joints in the hand and wrist, including both the top and underside of the wrist, as well as the end joint of a finger and at the base of a finger. They vary in size, and in many cases, grow larger with increased wrist activity. Ganglion cysts are filled with a thick, slippery fluid, similar to the fluid that lubricates your joints.
It is not known what triggers the formation of a ganglion cyst. They are most common in younger people between the ages of 15 and 40 years, and women are more likely to be affected than mean. They are also common in gymnasts and other athletes who repeatedly apply stress to the wrist.
These fluid-filled cysts can quickly appear, disappear and change size. Most form a visible lump, however, small ganglions can remain hidden under the skin (occult ganglions). Although many produce no other symptoms, if a cyst puts pressure on the nerves that pass through a joint, it can cause pain, tingling and muscle weakness. Large cysts, even if they are not painful, can cause concerns about appearance.
Many ganglion cysts do not require treatment and typically become smaller with rest. However, if the cyst is painful, interferes with function or has an unacceptable appearance, OKC Orthopedics, Sports & Pain Medicine has several treatment options available.