Lumps on your foot are not normal. Anyone who looks at his or her feet knows the basic shape they are supposed to be. When a bump appears on the top of your foot or around your ankles, it needs to be investigated. A ganglion cyst is the most common cause of these lumps and bumps and can impair normal foot movement or cause pain if it becomes too large. A basic cyst removal procedure, though, can eliminate the problem quickly.
Identifying a Ganglion Cyst
Seeing a large bump on the top of your foot or ankle can be unnerving, but ganglion cysts are noncancerous and largely harmless, though they can be uncomfortable. The swelling develops in the sheath or covering of a tendon, usually in or around a joint. The sac fills with clear, jelly-like fluid and bulges out from the area where it forms. The lump may feel firm or spongy and might actually be multiple cysts developed from a common stalk on a tendon.
The bump tends to get larger with activity and may become aggravated. It may also impair your joint movement or make it difficult to wear normal shoes. Sometimes, the swelling can press on nerves, creating painful problems. There are some simple, conservative ways to encourage the lump to shrink or even disappear, but if these do not help, you’ll need to investigate removal options.
Quick and Safe Removal Procedures
Dr. Robert Parker and our experienced team of specialists will evaluate the cyst to diagnose it correctly and rule out other possible causes of a lump, like cancer. We will use tests and X-rays or other imaging technologies to identify it accurately. Then, we can move forward with options to remove the bump. Two common techniques are aspiration and excision.
Aspiration uses a sterile needle to drain the fluid from the bump and restore the joint. We numb the area around the cyst so you do not feel any pain. We may use an enzyme to help make the jelly substance easier to remove. The contents are drawn out with a syringe, flattening the bulge and relieving any pressure it caused. This is an effective way of removing the bump, but since it leaves the sac intact and attached to your tendon, you have a higher risk of developing another ganglion cyst in the same place.
Excision is a type of cyst removal that cuts away the entire bump. The minor surgery detaches the sac and its stalk from the affected tendon. Modern techniques mean this can be a very small incision, which allows for a quicker and safer recovery. We leave the cyst intact and remove it as a whole. The tendon sheath attached to the cyst is also cut away. The incision is then closed and covered to protect it. It’s still possible for the cyst to reoccur, but less likely to cause a problem in that spot again.
Your cyst removal will depend on the size of the bump and how it’s affecting your foot or ankle. Our staff will work with you to determine the best option for treatment. Even though a ganglion cyst is considered largely harmless, any unusual lump should always be investigated carefully—especially if it is painful. Don’t wait until your bulge makes it difficult to wear shoes or move your foot. Seek help and contact Dr. Robert Parker here at Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX, for more information or to make an appointment. You can call us at (281) 497-2850 or use our online contact form for any questions.