Chances are, you have found something completely harmless, but any time you find a bump on your foot, it is a good idea to have a podiatrist diagnose the issue. Sometimes, fluid-filled bumps are nothing to worry about. However, a fluid-filled bump could be a ganglion cyst and require medical treatment. The doctors at Shenandoah Podiatry help people with problems like this every day.
Ganglion Cyst Symptoms
You most likely found a ganglion cyst (also sometimes called a Bible cyst) on your foot if the bump is:
- A thin sac
- Round or oval-shaped
- Near joints or tendons
- Full of clear, jelly-like liquid
- Relatively small (between the size of a pea and a golf ball)
- Usually only painful if pressing on a nerve or moving the joint, but it may tingle otherwise
- Soft, firm, or spongey feeling
- Able to move from side to side when pressed
Ganglion cysts are not cancerous, but they can make it uncomfortable to wear shoes if they appear on your feet.
Diagnosing Ganglion Cysts
Your podiatrist will be able to tell for sure once they examine your foot and apply gentle pressure to the area. They may also shine a light on your foot to determine if the lump is solid or full of liquid. Imaging tests like an MRI, ultrasound, or X-ray may also be necessary.
Treatments for Ganglion Cysts
The team at Shenandoah Podiatry in Roanoke, Virginia, will provide you with treatment and education about your feet in a calm, technologically advanced setting.
You may find information online about popping the cyst yourself or hitting it with a book. These are not good recommendations, as they can lead to further issues.
Your doctor will discuss all treatment options with you. They may recommend allowing the cyst to resolve itself or suggest one or more treatment options to alleviate symptoms associated with a problematic cyst.
Some treatment options may include:
- Reducing pressure. Your doctor might advise you to wear different shoes if the ones you have been wearing aren't soft enough or giving your feet enough room. They may also have you apply pads around the bump to ease pressure and friction.
- Restricting activity. Your doctor might ask you to spend less time on your feet until the cyst has shrunk.
- Applying ice. Applying ice for 15-20 minutes at a time may relieve inflammation and pain for a while.
- Medication. If there are severe pain and inflammation, there may be a need for pain relief drugs.
- Immobilization. A splint, brace, or other device might be used to keep your foot still so it can heal the cysts on its own.
- Aspiration. The doctor may need to use a needle to drain the fluid from the cyst. This is done in the office, generally after the podiatrist numbs the area. They may also inject a steroid at this time.
- Surgery. If nothing else works or the cyst comes back or causes pain, your podiatrist may need to remove it. If surgery is needed, it can easily take 2-4 weeks to recover sufficiently to resume daily activities and sometimes even longer, so the foot care experts at Shenandoah Podiatry will only resort to surgery if it is absolutely necessary.
Causes of Ganglion Cysts
Aside from repeated irritation, it is unclear what causes this condition. However, certain factors make them more likely to occur:
- Age and gender. Women between the ages of 20-40 are most likely to develop ganglion cysts.
- Past injuries. Previous injuries to the joint or tendon may make ganglion cysts more likely.
- Osteoarthritis. Arthritis in the joints of the feet may cause cysts.
- Bone spurs. Ganglion cysts are more likely to be found with bone spurs.
- History of ganglion cysts. If you have had them before, you are more likely to experience them again.
Because we cannot be sure what causes ganglion cysts, there is also no sure way to prevent them. However, we know how to treat them.