Being in the field of podiatry and dealing with a wide range of foot and ankle conditions, we know there are strange things that can happen with the human body. This is certainly the case when you become aware of a round bump that you previously hadn’t seen on your foot. You might worry about it, but it is quite possible you are looking at a harmless foot or heel cyst. Understanding more about ganglion cysts can help you avoid unnecessary alarm.
An Introduction to Foot and Heel Cysts
Cysts are unusual bumps that appear on various parts of your body, including feet and heels. A ganglion cyst is frequently found on the top of the foot and is typically full of a thick, gel-like fluid. The thick fluid is similar to the kind that surrounds tendons and can be found in joints. Cysts are typically noncancerous and can vary in size. In a strange phenomenon, the same lump can grow and shrink in size, and also disappear and return randomly.
The exact causes are unknown, but there is reason to believe the growths may be the result of physical trauma. This might be from a single incident or from repeated micro-trauma, like when a foot hits the inside of a running shoe during training or a marathon, which could be why you wouldn’t associate it with a specific injury.
Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts
The most noticeable symptom of a foot or heel cyst is simply the bump itself, and it may be the only sign of the condition. When the lump develops against a nerve, however, there may be burning or tingling sensations present. At the same time, a ganglion cyst pressed against a tendon or joint in the foot may result in a dull pain or ache. This can also happen when footwear creates irritation or pain as the bump is pressed against the inside of the shoe or boot.
Cyst Treatment Options
Various options can be effective when we look at treating ganglion cysts. In cases where there is no pain or difficulty with movement, you may only need to monitor the condition and see if any issues develop. Other than that, there is no care needed for a foot or heel cyst that is not causing problems.
Shoes can irritate the cyst or cause pain when the inside surfaces rub against the bump, so we may recommend a switch in footwear to models that offer more room. Another approach that can work in these cases is additional padding or cushioning used inside the shoe to help relieve pressure from the situation.
We strongly advise against using any type of “home surgery,” but we can safely drain the thick fluid from the cyst using sterile equipment at our office. Do not attempt this at home, because you will open the door for infection, which could lead to a much bigger issue than simply leaving the cyst intact. If you elect to have our professionals perform this for you, please keep in mind that it may require more than a single session. Of course, it can be worth it if your foot or heel cyst is causing issues.
For rare cases, conservative treatment options and drainage procedures do not prove to be enough and surgical procedures become the best course of action to treat undesirable symptoms. If we reach this point, we will carefully review the procedure with you so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed.
Professional Ganglion Cyst Care from Capital District Podiatry
When you develop a strange bump anywhere on your foot, schedule an appointment with either our Troy, NY or Clifton Park office. We can examine the lump to ensure that it is a benign foot or heel cyst, instead of anything more critical. Our foot specialists can also create a treatment plan for cysts that are painful or causing other problems, so call us today at (518) 273-0053 or fill out our online form to schedule your appointment.