Is the bump on my wrist cancer? Probably not! It’s probably a ganglion cyst. Ganglion cysts are typically round or oval and filled with jelly-like fluid. They are not cancerous! They do not hurt except when they put pressure on a nerve or a joint.
Ganglions form in a lot of places in the hand, including the top and bottom of the wrist, and at the base and the ends of the fingers. Sometimes they arise out of a joint and sometimes they come off of a tendon sheath. They get bigger with activity and shrink down at other times.
Treatment for Ganglion Cysts
Ganglions used to be treated with a hard hit from a “leather-bound bible.” This is why they are called Bible bumps or Gideon’s disease. Although this approach has been known to work, it can cause damage to other tissues and is not recommended.
Often these are treated with resting the joint in a splint or compressive bandage. This will shrink them down so that they no longer cause a problem.
Infrequently, they are drained, called aspiration of ganglion cyst. This, however, only lasts a short time before they fill with fluid again.
Hand surgeons will sometimes take them out if the ganglion cyst gets so big as to cause limited range of motion or severe pain of the wrist or finger. The ganglions tend to have roots, so the surgical decision becomes whether or not they cause a big enough problem to warrant having to dig around in the joint or tendon to get all the roots. Unfortunately, because of the root problem, 12-41% of the ganglions recur even with surgery.
There are other bumps on the hand that are hard but they are not ganglion cysts. The soft bump on your wrist that gets bigger and smaller but doesn’t really hurt is most likely a ganglion cyst. If you are not sure, please contact us at lbhandtherapy.com and we’ll be glad to help you.