Ganglion cysts are noncancerous lumps that often develop around the joints or tendons of the hand and wrist. Typically filled with a jelly-like fluid, these cysts can vary in size and may cause varying degrees of discomfort, although many are painless. If left untreated, ganglion cysts can lead to issues with joint mobility and hand function, which can be distressing to those affected by this condition.

At North Florida Hand & Wrist Center, our highly skilled hand and wrist surgeons, Dr. Richard D. Curtis and Dr. Jose Baez, are dedicated to providing exceptional care for patients suffering from a wide range of hand and wrist ailments, including ganglion cysts. Equipped with modern surgical technology and techniques, our team offers personalized treatment plans for patients seeking relief from painful or limiting conditions, allowing them to regain independence and confidence in their daily lives.

In this informative blog post, we will provide a comprehensive overview of ganglion cysts, discussing the possible causes, common symptoms, and advanced treatment options available through our state-of-the-art facility. We’ll also explore preventive measures that can be taken to minimize the risk of developing these cysts in order to help you maintain optimal hand and wrist health.

Possible Causes of Ganglion Cysts

The exact cause of ganglion cysts is not entirely understood. However, several factors are believed to contribute to their formation, including:

  1. Joint or tendon irritation: It is thought that inflammation or irritation of the joints or tendons might trigger the synthesis of additional synovial fluid, forming a cyst when this excess fluid collects in a sac-like structure.
  2. Trauma or injury: Some cases of ganglion cysts may be linked to an injury that caused damage to the joint or tendon sheath, leading to the formation of the cyst.
  3. Age and gender: Ganglion cysts are more commonly observed in women and tend to occur in individuals between the ages of 20 and 40.
  4. Medical conditions: People with conditions like osteoarthritis, particularly in the finger joints, may be at higher risk for developing ganglion cysts.

Common Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts can present a range of symptoms and may look different from person to person, depending on their size and location. Key symptoms to watch for include:

  1. A visible lump: The most apparent sign of a ganglion cyst is a visible lump beneath the skin, typically located near a joint or tendon.
  2. Discomfort or tenderness: Some individuals may experience pain or tenderness near the site of the cyst, particularly when pressure is applied or during specific activities that involve the affected joint.
  3. Stiffness or limited movement: In certain cases, ganglion cysts can cause stiffness or interfere with the range of motion in the hand or wrist, making it challenging to complete everyday tasks.
  4. Fluctuating size: The size of the cyst may change over time, as some cysts may spontaneously shrink or grow larger depending on factors such as activity levels or joint stress.

Advanced Treatment Options for Ganglion Cysts

While not all ganglion cysts require treatment, those that cause pain or limit movement may necessitate intervention. The ideal course of treatment for ganglion cysts will depend on the severity and duration of your symptoms, as well as your individual needs. Treatment options include:

  1. Non-surgical treatments: In some cases, non-invasive options can successfully manage ganglion cyst symptoms. Treatments such as immobilization, anti-inflammatory medications, or aspiration, which involves using a needle to drain the fluid from the cyst, can provide relief.
  2. Surgical intervention: When conservative treatments are unsuccessful or the symptoms worsen, surgical removal of the ganglion cyst, known as excision, can be considered. The skilled surgeons at North Florida Hand & Wrist Center use state-of-the-art techniques to remove the cyst, minimize scarring, and ensure optimal patient outcomes.

Preventive Measures for Ganglion Cysts

While it may not be feasible to prevent all instances of ganglion cyst formation, adopting certain practices can help reduce the likelihood of developing them:

  1. Protect your hands and wrists: Use a wrap or brace to provide support and protection for your joints during activities that place stress on the hand and wrist, such as sports or manual labor tasks.
  2. Engage in hand and wrist exercises: Regularly performing exercises designed to strengthen and condition the muscles surrounding the hand and wrist can help maintain joint integrity and reduce the chances of suffering from injuries that may contribute to cyst formation.
  3. Be mindful of ergonomics: Ensuring that your workstation is ergonomically optimized can be beneficial in minimizing repetitive stress on your hands and wrists.
  4. Listen to your body: If you experience pain in your hands or wrists while performing an activity, take a break and reevaluate your technique to reduce the risk of injury.


Ganglion cysts are common hand and wrist ailments that, although generally benign, can cause discomfort and limit mobility. Understanding their causes, recognizing the symptoms, and being aware of the various treatment options available can help you make informed decisions regarding your hand and wrist health. The highly-skilled surgical team at North Florida Hand & Wrist Center is well-equipped to diagnose and treat a vast array of hand and wrist conditions, including ganglion cysts. If you suspect that you have a ganglion cyst or are experiencing pain in your hand or wrist, do not hesitate to contact our hand doctors for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment options.