Ganglion cysts are small fluid-filled masses that can develop on your foot. They are typically caused by weakness in the lining of a joint or tendon sheath. This weakness allows synovial fluid (fluid that helps to facilitate joint movement) to move out of the area and turn into a cyst-like pouch. Due to the structure of the foot, ganglion cysts typically form in the midfoot or near your ankle.
Left untreated, the cyst can continue to get larger, which not only will create discomfort when you’re wearing socks or shoes, but can also affect the structure of your foot. Today, we take a closer look at how these cysts are best treated.
Treating Ganglion Cysts
There are a couple of different ways foot specialists work to address ganglion cysts, and unless the cyst is seriously jeopardizing your health, your doctor will start with conservative methods. The first method they’ll suggest involves putting padding over the cyst to help prevent irritation. For some individuals, covering the cyst and wearing shoes with plenty of room above the cyst can help to relieve symptoms.
Your doctor may also suggest cyst drainage. They can perform this by sterilizing a needle and draining the cyst, but unless the underlying cause of the cyst is addressed, it’s likely that it will return in the future.
If non-operative methods don’t provide permanent relief, surgery may be recommended. Surgery will remove the cyst and address synovial fluid leaks. Your surgeon will work carefully to prevent any complications from occurring. Some complications that can happen during a ganglion cyst removal include nerve injury, infection, or cyst recurrence, although these complications are pretty rare.