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A ganglion is a harmless cyst, or small lump, filled with fluid which usually forms near a joint or tendon. Ganglions are more common in women aged 20-40.

What causes a ganglion?

Although no one is certain what causes ganglions, they can form when synovial fluid (surrounding a joint or tendon) leaks, forming a lump under the skin (sac).

What are the signs of having a ganglion?

Signs include swelling, pain or discomfort. Ganglions can increase in size, causing problems with wearing your normal shoes. If the ganglion is near a nerve, it can cause numbness in the surrounding area and if it’s deep in the foot the area around it can ache.

How are ganglions diagnosed?

During your first appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your symptoms with Mr Heidari who will usually carry out X-rays and an MRI scan to identify any damage to the bones, including arthritis.

What does treatment involve?

There are a number of treatment options and, during your first consultation, Mr Heidari will be able to discuss these with you so that you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you.

  • In some cases, and depending on where the ganglion is, you may be able to manage without surgical treatment by wearing comfortable shoes and taking pain relief (if advised by your doctor)
  • Another option is to have the fluid drained away (aspiration); however, in about half of cases, the ganglion can return
  • Having surgery to remove the ganglion can be effective (although a ganglion may still return in 30-40% of cases).

This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.