What To Do About a Cyst in Your Hand or Wrist

If you notice a lump on your hand, wrist, or finger, you may be alarmed. Fortunately, ganglion cysts are noncancerous lumps. These lumps can vary in size. They can be as small as a pea or as large as a golf ball, and upon examination, they’re soft and movable.

Ganglion cysts usually develop along the tendons or the joints of the wrists, hands, feet, and ankles. They commonly appear on the back of the hand.

When these cysts press on a nerve, they can cause pain. In some cases, the location of the cyst can interfere with joint movement. 

To help you get a better understanding of these benign lumps, we asked our experts at The Hand Center to explain what we can do about ganglion cysts. 

Risk factors for ganglion cysts

The cause of ganglion cysts is unknown, though we do know that they can occur when fluid in the joints leaks out. 

Overuse of tendons and the joints can lead to cysts. Weightlifters and gymnasts are often at a higher risk of developing these lumps. Other risk factors include:

If you have to engage your hands, wrists, and fingers in repetitive movements on a daily basis and you have a cyst, you may benefit from taking frequent breaks and allowing your tendons and joints to rest. 


The first step we usually take is to shine a light through the lump to determine whether the contents are transparent or opaque. 

We can confirm a ganglion cyst by introducing a needle into the cyst and removing the liquid. Fluid from a ganglion cyst has a thick consistency and is clear.

Treatment options

Depending on the size of your cyst and whether it causes any symptoms, we may recommend draining the cyst. If your cyst is larger, we may recommend removing it through surgery. 

But if your cyst doesn’t cause any symptoms and isn’t large, we may suggest you wait it out and track its progression, as some smaller cysts go away on their own. 

Even if the cyst doesn’t bother you, you should contact us for a diagnosis to rule out other diseases that could be causing the growth. 

Are you looking to get medical help for your cysts? Contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our Connecticut offices, conveniently located in Bloomfield, Glastonbury, Tolland, and Hartford.

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