You probably know what a cyst is – it’s a common occurrence where a small sac fills with fluid inside the body.
Feet can have cysts too and the most common kind is called a ganglion cyst. The word “ganglion” means tumor on a tendon, ligament or muscle. These growths usually form on a foot tendon or joint and often are visible on the top of the foot. You’ll feel a bump or mass that is soft and won’t move.
Cysts can appear as one large one or several small ones grouped together. They are filled with a clear, sticky, jelly-like substance. Most are not painful unless they are caused by some kind of trauma or aggravated by shoes. If they impinge on a nerve, you may feel a tingling that stretches to your toes.
Most of the time we don’t know what causes these cysts to grow, unless there has been a type of trauma. Cysts can fluctuate in size and can even go away for a time and then reappear. For reasons we don’t know, individuals ages 20-40 are more prone to developing ganglion cysts as are women of all ages.
Diagnosing and Treating Ganglion Cysts
Although a ganglion cyst isn’t usually an emergency, it’s a good idea to have it assessed by a foot doctor.
Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM will give your foot a careful examination. We will order diagnostic tests like x-rays, CT scan, MRI or ultrasound as necessary to pinpoint the cyst and rule out other foot problems.
Treatment methods include:
- Custom-fitted orthotics to relieve pressure.
- Removing the fluid inside the cyst by drawing it out with a needle.
- After removing the liquid, we’ll inject an anti-inflammatory steroid into the area.
Long-term, we’ll monitor the cyst to watch for any changes such as in size. We’ll discuss surgery with you if the cyst is very painful, if it continually comes back or if it interferes with wearing shoes comfortably.
We Can Help with any Unusual Appearance or Growth on Your Feet
Sometimes you need an expert to do the job right. Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with foot and ankle conditions of all kinds. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Whether a ganglion cyst or any other foot abnormality, we can help!