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  • Writer's picturePasadena Orthopedics, Inc.

Ganglion Cysts

Also known as, "squishy mass" on the body!

What is a Ganglion Cyst?

A ganglion cyst is a sac with a jelly-like fluid that originates from a tendon sheath or joint capsule. The word "ganglion" means knot and is used to describe the knot-like mass or lump that forms below the surface of the skin.

Ganglion cysts are among the most common benign soft-tissue masses. Although they most often occur on the wrist, they also frequently develop on the foot or ankle- typically on top but also can occur elsewhere. Ganglion cysts can be different sizes and have some variation- they also may increase or decrease in size. At times, they completely disappear but then return later in time.


The exact cause is unknown however they may arise from trauma - whether it be a single event or small microtrauma which occurs over time.


A ganglion cyst is associated with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A noticeable lump- often this is the only symptom experienced

  • Tingling or burning, if the cyst is touching a nerve

  • Dull pain or ache, which may indicate the cyst is pressing against a tendon or joint

  • Difficulty wearing shoes due to irritation between the lump and the shoe


A foot and ankle surgeon will perform a thorough examination of your foot and ankle. The lump will be visibly apparent in most cases, and when pressed in a certain way, it should move freely under the skin. Sometimes the surgeon will shine a light through the cyst or remove a small amount of fluid for evaluation. Your doctor may take an x-ray and in some cases, an MRI or additional imaging can be ordered.

Non Surgical Treatment

Dr. Shirazi always attempts conservative treatment and considers surgical treatment when all other alternatives are exhausted. Shoe modifications, aspiration and injections of corticosteroid are all conservative treatment considerations. If a patient wants definitive treatment, then the cyst can be removed surgically.

When Is Surgery Needed?

When other treatments fail or are not appropriate, Dr. Sara Shirazi will speak with you about surgical intervention. The recurrence rate is much less than conservative treatment in the office. This is why many patients elect for surgery.

Please call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sara Shirazi.

Pasadena Orthopedics, Inc.

(626) 517-0022

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