What is a Ganglion?


A ganglion is a collection of fluid that forms a swelling under the skin. In the foot, they can make shoes uncomfortable, or they can burst and cause a discharge. They often change in size over time, getting bigger as well as smaller.

Ganglions most frequently occur near joints where there has been some wear and tear, or near a tendon sheath. Joints and tendon sheaths produce fluid, and this can be forced out into an area under the skin where it collects. There is normally a rent in the joint lining or tendon sheath to allow the fluid to escape.

Sometimes, the fluid nature of the ganglion allows light to transilluminate it - as demonstrated on the left.

There is often deep pain associated with a ganglion. This is caused by the underlying wear and tear arthritis, rather than the ganglion. This means it may not settle if the ganglion is removed.

Some ganglions are very small, but very painful. These often occur near the small joints of the toes. These are often referred to as seed ganglions.

If you have a ganglion of the foot, it is best to see an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in foot and ankle surgery. You should have x-rays taken in a standing position - if your ganglion is related to any joint arthritis, this may require treatment to get rid of any associated pain.

about this condition
what your 
operation involvesGanglion_Surgery.html
what to expect
after surgeryGanglion_Rehab.html
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