Ganglions are soft tissue masses that can occur on top of the foot, in front of the ankle or on the outside of the ankle. A common characteristic is that the ganglion will enlarge and then shrink in size. Ganglions arise spontaneously from a weakness in the soft tissue covering of a joint or tendon sheath. Ballooning out of the tissue occurs and it fills with thick mucoid fluid. Ganglions are not painful until they reach a size that causes irritation from shoe pressure. They can compress a nearby skin nerve which causes tingling to the top of the toes.

An x-ray will reveal the shadow of the soft tissue swelling. There may be a small bone spur around the area of the ganglion. Spurring indicates a level of arthritis in the in the joint near the ganglion. Small ganglions without symptoms usually require no treatment. A non-surgical form of treatment is termed “needling.” This involves numbing the area with local anesthesia and a large gauge needle aspirate the ganglion fluid. A steroid medication may be placed into the mass and a snug bandage applied. This treatment has a 70% reassurance rate. The definitive treatment for a ganglion is surgical excision.

If you suspect you may have a ganglion, please call our office for an appointment. Diagnosis just takes a few minutes and a plan of treatment discussed.

by Wendy Taggart

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