What is a Ganglion Cyst?

One day when you are putting on your shoes you notice a strange lump on the top of your foot. It doesn’t really hurt but it obviously doesn’t belong there. What is it? One possibility is a Ganglion Cyst.

A Ganglion Cyst is a sac of jellylike fluid that comes from a joint capsule or a tendon sheath. When the fluid accumulates in the sack, it forms a knot-like mass under the skin, hence the name “Ganglion,” which means knot. Ganglion cysts are among the most common benign soft-tissue masses. The exact cause of the cysts is unknown but it is thought that they may be the result of trauma to the foot.


Often the only symptom of a Ganglion Cyst is the lump. In some cases, you may experience a tingling or burning sensation, which would mean the cyst is touching a nerve or there could be a dull ache or pain if the cyst is pressing against a tendon or joint. Depending on the location of the cyst it may be difficult to comfortably wear shoes.

How Do you Know if You Have a Ganglion Cyst?

To properly diagnose a Ganglion Cyst (or any other abnormal conditions of the foot), arrange a visit to Great Neck Family Foot Care where we ask that you “let our family take care of yours.” Dr. Alec Hochstein and Dr. Diana Gagliano are both board certified podiatrists and have been offering the highest standard of foot care to Nassau County patients for over 15 years. They will conduct a thorough examination of your foot and specifically of the lump. The foot doctor may remove a small amount of fluid from the cyst to analyze and an x-ray may be ordered (which can be taken right in our Great Neck office).


There are a few treatment strategies for a Ganglion Cyst:

  • Monitoring: If the cyst is not causing you pain or interfering with walking, the surgeon may decide to just schedule regular appointments to check the cyst.
  • Footwear Modifications: It’s advisable to not wear shoes that will rub or irritate the cyst and it may be recommended that some padding be placed inside the shoe to reduce pressure and rubbing on the cyst.
  • Aspiration and Injection: In this treatment the fluid is drained from the cyst and a steroid is injected into the mass. Multiple sessions may be needed.
  • If all other treatment options fail, surgery may be needed.