Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is this mushy lump on my wrist?"
I am a 24year old who uses her hands alot. Last year my wrist began to hurt, it was only when extended or flexed, up and down or left to right. The pain was sharp and intense. As the months have gone on, my wrist has shifted slightly inward and there is now a mushy lump the size of a gumball on my the outer corner of my wrist. I have pain at all times that gets worse with movement.
This sounds a lot like a ganglion cyst. Ganglion cysts are fluid filled growths that originate from the connective tissue that surrounds the tendons in the wrist and hand. They are totally benign, meaning they do not indicate an underlying medical problem and they do not turn into cancer. Because of this many ganglion cysts do not need treatment if they are not painful. In fact, some will spontaneously go away over time if you wait long enough. However, a significant number of ganglion cysts do continue to grow or become symptomatic in other ways, for example they can be painful from bumping them constantly or because they catch up on your tendons when you try to move your wrist. If you have these symptoms (and it sounds like you do) then your best bet is to talk to an orthopedic doctor (your primary care doctor can refer you). Sometimes, cysts can be reduced in size by removing the fluid from them with a needle. However, many cysts do require surgical removal. This is a relatively minor surgery, however the main complication is that there is a relatively high rate of the cyst growing back even after the surgery has been done.
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