Ganglion cyst

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What is it

A ganglion is a benign cyst that forms under the skin and attaches to a tendon sheath or a joint, usually on the back of the wrist but also on the top of the foot. Each of your movable joints is enclosed within a fibrous capsule that has an inner lining known as the synovium, which also forms a sheath for certain tendons. Ganglia (plural) are formed when a thick, jellylike fluid secreted by the synovium a fluid that normally lubricates a joint or tendon accumulates around the joint or tendon instead of being reabsorbed by the body. As the fluid accumulates, the area balloons out. The cysts are typically pea-size but can grow as large as a golf ball.


  • A round lump which can be soft or hard under the skin, often on the back of the wrist. Usually painless, but sometimes pain and tenderness are present.

What causes it

Although the cysts can form after trauma to a tendon or joint, the cause is unknown.

What if you do nothing

A ganglion cyst is benign and often disappears without treatment. If your cyst does not go away and its appearance disturbs you, you may want to consider removal.

Home remedies

There are no home remedies for ganglia. Removing a ganglion should be left to a doctor.


There are no known ways to prevent ganglia.

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