Ganglion (also known as synovial cysts) are very common lumps which sometimes grow on the hand and wrist. These cysts can be painful especially when they first appear or with constant and demanding use of the hand.
Diagnosis of a synovial cyst or ganglion is usually based on where it is located and what it looks like. Your hand surgeon may recommend an x-ray to rule out injuries to neighbouring joints.
What are the causes?
Maintained dorsal flexion postures of the wrist, such as carrying a heavy tray or doing push-ups, can facilitate the appearance of this open wrist as well as sudden braking movements from a blow or a fall with the hands in that flexed position, in addition to a malformation or alteration of the alignment of the carpal bones, can facilitate the appearance of the ganglion.
Treatment of a synovial cyst or ganglion may simply be the observation of any changes. However, if the cyst is painful, limits activity or its appearance is unacceptable to the patient, another treatment may be recommended.
Treatment may include removing fluid from the cyst by aspirating it with a needle and/or using a splint to prevent movement. If these non-surgical treatments fail, your hand surgeon may recommend surgery to remove the cyst.
What is the surgical procedure about?
The goal of surgery is to remove the origin of the cyst. This may require removal of a piece of the joint capsule or tendon sheath close to the ganglion. If the ganglion is removed from the wrist, a splint may be recommended for the post-operative period. Some patients may experience pain, discomfort, and swelling at the surgery site, sometimes longer than others, but full activity may be resumed once the discomfort subsides. Even though surgery offers the best success results in removing the lymph nodes, these cysts may still recur.
What is the role of physiotherapy?
Treatment with physical therapy of the ganglion located in the wrist usually has a good result, especially in its initial stages, where manual therapy can be very effective.
The following are useful tools for you to be able to improve your injury:
1. Self-massage for forearm anterior muscles.
2. Forearm stretch.
3. Wrist self-mobilization for ganglion.
4. Traction and opening of the wrist.
You might also want to read: What is a ganglion?
At Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists to treat your ganglion. Book an appointment to get a checkup.