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How Do You Get Rid of a Ganglion Cyst on Your Foot? Treatment

how do you get rid of a ganglion cyst on your foot
What are ganglion cysts, and how can you get rid of them? Learn about treatments, home remedies, and when surgery may be needed

Ganglion cysts are often painless and do not require treatment. Your doctor may simply recommend periodic monitoring, wearing shoes that do not rub or irritate the cyst, or placing a pad inside the shoe to reduce pressure against the cyst. However, in some cases, ganglion cysts may need medical or even surgical treatment.

How are ganglion cysts treated?

If the cyst causes pain or interferes with joint movement, your doctor may recommend:

  • Rest: Since activity can cause the ganglion cyst to increase in size, your physician may temporarily immobilize the area with a brace or splint. As the cyst shrinks, it causes less pressure on your nerves, thereby alleviating pain. Avoid long-term use of brace or splint to avoid weakening of nearby muscles.
  • Aspiration: Aspiration involves draining fluid from the cyst with a needle. Next, a steroid injection is administered, and the area is put into a splint to immobilize it. However, since aspiration doesn’t remove the stalk that attaches the cyst to the joint or tendon, the cyst may eventually come back.
  • Surgery: Surgery is the last resort when other treatment methods don’t work. During surgery, both the cyst and the stalk are removed. Some of the side effects of surgery include:
    • Injury to surrounding nerves, blood vessels, or tendons
    • Recurrence of cysts

What are home remedies for ganglion cysts?

If your cyst isn’t painful and doesn’t interfere with walking, home remedies may help clear up the cyst:

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen
  • Soaking the cyst with a mix of warm water and Epsom salt
  • Applying a warm compress

However, avoid doing the following:

  • Flattening the cyst with pressure or impact
  • Popping the cyst and self-draining (this may lead to infection)

What causes ganglion cysts?

While the exact cause of these cysts are unknown, potential causes may include constant irritation or wear and tear on a joint, since they are often seen in joints affected by arthritis

Ganglion cysts are benign (noncancerous) masses, so they are unlikely to spread to other areas. In most cases, they are not dangerous, unless they are painful or infected.

When do ganglion cysts need surgical treatment?

If a ganglion cyst is painless and doesn’t seem to bother you, there is no need for treatment. Sometimes, a ganglion cyst heals without any intervention.

Your physician might recommend surgical treatment in the following cases:

  • When the cyst is painful, which may happen when it presses against a nerve or joint tissues
  • Makes walking or other movements, such as wearing footwear, difficult
  • Makes you self-conscious about your appearance

What happens during ganglion cyst surgery?

Ganglion cyst removal is called ganglionectomy. Your physician may consider a ganglionectomy when other treatments don’t provide relief or your cyst keeps coming back. During an open ganglionectomy, your doctor will:

  • Make an incision over the ganglion, and carefully separate the cyst.
  • Remove the entire cyst along with the stalk.
  • Close the incision with sutures and cover the area with a bandage.

During a key-hole surgery, your physician will insert an instrument with a camera (arthroscope) through tiny incisions.

As it is an outpatient procedure, you will get to go home on the day of surgery. Full recovery takes 2-6 weeks.

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