A ganglion cyst is a mass of tissue that is filled with clear fluid similar to synovial fluid (a clear, lubricating, viscous fluid found in the synovial cavity of joints). They are benign but need to be differentiated from more serious conditions Ganglion cysts are among the most common benign soft-tissue masses.
A ganglion cyst is associated with one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- A noticeable lump
- Tingling or burning, if the cyst is touching a nerve.
- Pain or ache, which may indicate the cyst, is pressing against a tendon or joint.
- Difficulty wearing shoes due to irritation between the lump and the shoe.
Ganglion cysts are usually caused by some type of injury. For example, a ganglion cyst might develop after something drops on the foot, if the foot was twisted while walking, or after too much stress was placed on a joint or tendon.
To diagnose a ganglion cyst, the podiatrist will perform a thorough examination of the foot. The lump will be visually apparent and, when pressed in a certain way, it should move freely underneath the skin. Occasionally other imaging studies may be used.