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Could That Bump on Your Wrist Be a Ganglion Cyst?

Could That Bump on Your Wrist Be a Ganglion Cyst?

A new lump on your wrist can set off warning bells in your mind. But before you start overthinking, let our experts at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine ease your mind. 

Upwards of 60%-70% of all soft tissue masses found in the wrist are noncancerous bumps called ganglion cysts. Here’s what you should know about how to spot this pesky problem and how we can help you treat it.

How do I know I have a ganglion cyst?

To be absolutely sure you have a ganglion cyst, you need to see one of our specialists. Sometimes, we can tell what’s happening in your wrist simply by pressing down on the lump or shining a light through it. We may recommend some more detailed imaging tests, such as X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI, to rule out other conditions. 

However, there are a few characteristics of ganglion cysts you can look out for to give you some peace of mind before your appointment. Here are some tell-tale signs of ganglion cysts. 


Ganglion cysts almost always develop along the tendons and joints of your wrist or hands, but you may also notice them in your hands and feet.

Shape and size

If you have a ganglion cyst, it will feel round or oval shaped. They usually don’t grow to be over an inch, and in some cases, they’re as small as a pea. The size of your cyst can also fluctuate. For example, ganglion cysts tend to grow larger when you use your wrist joint repetitively.


Ganglion cysts in and of themselves aren’t painful; however, if they press on the nerves in your wrist you may notice pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. 

Risk factors

Knowing if you’re at risk may also help you determine what that lump in your wrist is. You’re more likely to develop a ganglion cyst if you’re a woman, between the ages of 20 and 40, have osteoarthritis, or have previously injured your wrist.

What are my treatment options?

If we determine that you have a ganglion cyst, the next step is deciding how to address it. Fortunately, most ganglion cysts don’t cause any symptoms and resolve on their own with conservative treatments like bracing. But if your ganglion cyst causes discomfort, we may recommend draining the cyst with a needle or surgically removing the cyst. 

Can I avoid ganglion cysts in the future?

Because no one is quite sure what causes ganglion cysts, it’s tough to nail down an exact list of prevention methods. However, that doesn’t have to stop you from employing some common-sense strategies to keep your wrist joint healthy and possibly prevent a ganglion cyst from forming. 

To avoid a ganglion cyst, try:

Don’t spend another day wondering what’s on your wrist. Call to schedule an appointment at either our Toms River or Shrewsbury, New Jersey, offices today.

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