Ganglion cysts can occur throughout the body, but in podiatry, we normally see them form along the top of the foot, just below the ankle joint. They are fluid-filled sacks, and appear as a round lump with a soft, gel-like feel. You can easily move small cysts manually, though it may be more difficult to move larger cysts because of the amount of tissue.
Ganglion cysts are thought to form in response to trauma to a joint. This can be due to a direct strike to the area from a kick or fallen object, or even from athletic activities that generate a lot of force not eh joints, such as gymnastics.
Ganglion cysts are mostly a cosmetic issue, but they can lead to pain or discomfort because of pressure and rubbing from footwear. This can cause the mass to press up against internal nerves and tendons, leading to pain, inflammation and a burning sensation.
Because ganglion cysts don’t usually interfere with normal activity, your podiatrist will want to monitor it initially. However, if the symptoms are chronic and you are unable to perform normal duties, aspiration (drainage of the fluid within the cyst) will be recommended. Aspiration may only provide temporary relief, as the cyst can re-form. In certain cases, surgical removal of the ganglion cyst may be recommended.