Ganglion Cyst Overview
A ganglion cyst is a tumor or swelling on top of a joint or the covering of a tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone). It looks like a sac of liquid (cyst). Inside the cyst is a thick, sticky, clear, colorless, jellylike material. Depending on the size, cysts may feel firm or spongy.
One large cyst or many smaller ones may develop. Multiple small cysts can give the appearance of more than one cyst, but a common stalk within the deeper tissue usually connects them. This type of cyst is not harmful and accounts for about half of all soft tissue tumors of the hand.
Ganglion cysts, also known as Bible cysts, are more common in women, and a majority occur in people between 20-40 years of age. Rarely, ganglion cysts can occur in children younger than 10 years of age.
Ganglion cysts most commonly occur on the back of the hand, at the wrist joint, and can also develop on the palm side of the wrist. When found on the back of the wrist, they become more prominent when the wrist is flexed forward. Other sites, although less common, include these:
The base of the fingers on the palm, where they appear as small pea-sized bumps
The fingertip, just below the cuticle, where they are called mucous cysts
The outside of the knee and ankle
The top of the foot
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/23/2014
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