What is a wrist ganglion?
Ganglions, also known as ganglion cysts, are fluid filled lumps that arise from tendons or joints. Ganglions are harmless and non-cancerous. They often appear as a firm, round bump under the skin, ranging in size from a pea to a golf-ball. Ganglions may fluctuate in size, becoming larger or smaller over time. Not all ganglions are visible. Smaller ganglions may only be detected with an MRI scan.
Is a ganglion serious?
No. Most ganglions cause no symptoms at all. They often spontaneously disappear so if they are not causing any pain, they are best left alone.
What causes a ganglion?
The exact cause of wrist ganglions is unknown. However, they may develop due to:
Repetitive activities or movements, that strain the wrist joint or tendons, can contribute to their formation.
A previous wrist injury, such as a sprain or fracture, may increase the likelihood of developing a ganglion.
Age and Gender: Ganglions are more commonly found in individuals between the ages of 15 and 40, and they are more prevalent in women than men.
Genetic Predisposition: Certain individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing ganglions.
How is a ganglion treated?
Ganglions often resolve on their own without intervention, so if a ganglion does not cause pain, no treatment is required. However, if the ganglion is causing discomfort or interfering with your daily activities, there are treatment options available. Some common treatment approaches include:
Immobilisation: Wearing a wrist splint to prevent wrist movement may alleviate pain and allow the ganglion to reduce in size. Our hand therapists can fit you with a custom-made wrist orthosis which is light-weight, cooler and more comfortable than off-the-shelf braces.
Aspiration: This procedure is performed by a doctor under ultrasound guidance. It involves using a needle to drain the fluid from the cyst. It can provide temporary relief, but there is a chance the ganglion may return. Wearing a splint for 2-4 weeks following aspiration, may help to prevent the cyst from reforming.
Surgery: In some cases where a ganglion causes significant pain, surgical removal of the ganglion may be necessary. Following surgery to remove a ganglion, our hand therapists can help with reducing pain and swelling, restoring movement and preventing any problems with the scar.