Ganglion Cyst

The Makovicka Difference

We are leaders in our profession, locally owned and operated by physical therapists who forge relationships with patients, and advocate for their care. All of our clinics have board-certified specialists on staff, meaning you get the highest level of care to maximize your recovery, and get you back to your game. We will listen, evaluate your symptoms, and create a personalized physical therapy program to meet your needs and improve your function, strength, and mobility.

Finding or feeling a lump under the skin can be unsettling. Sometimes a small mass or lump on the wrist or hands can be a ganglion cyst. Should you worry? Here’s more information from Makovicka Physical Therapy’s Hand Therapist about ganglion cysts:

What is a ganglion cyst? 

A ganglion cyst is a lump that is either oval or round and is full of fluid associated with a tendon or joint. It is most commonly found on the top or bottom side of the wrist.  It can cause pain in the wrist but usually is pain-free. Cysts vary in size from pea size up to 2.5cm in diameter. The size of the cyst can also fluctuate, often becoming larger with repetitive wrist motions. 

Who does a ganglion cyst affect? 

Anyone can get a ganglion cyst, although younger people between the ages of 15-40, women, and people with osteoarthritis have a higher probability of developing a ganglion cyst. A cyst can also form when a person participates in activities that require repetitive motion of the wrist or bearing weight onto the hands such as during pushups and plank exercises.  

How do I know if I have a ganglion cyst? 

Some of the most common symptoms of a ganglion cyst are wrist pain, loss of wrist motion, and/or a noticeable lump on the top or the bottom side of the wrist. 

What is the treatment or therapy for a ganglion cyst? 

Generally, surgery is not needed, and nonsurgical treatments are trialed first, especially if no pain is present. Nonsurgical treatments are guided by a hand therapist. Treatment includes wearing a brace and immobilizing the wrist to decrease repetitive motions that caused the cyst.  Sometimes the cyst needs to be aspirated at a medical clinic, and with all treatments, rest is a must. 

If surgery is required, surgery is performed in an outpatient setting, meaning you will be able to go home that day. A hand therapist referral is recommended after therapy to guide you through your recovery and improve motion, reduce pain and swelling, and improve strength. Therapy may consist of pain/edema management, soft tissue mobilization, applying a hot/cold compress, stretching, strengthening, and scar management. 

Makovicka Physical Therapy Hand Therapist can assist with providing quality therapy for ganglion cysts.