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What are ganglion cysts?

Rachel Rohde, MD
Orthopedic Surgery

Ganglion cysts are the most common “masses” in the hand and wrist. They are “outpouchings” of a joint and are filled with joint fluid; this fluid looks like colorless, transparent jelly! You might notice that a cysts changes in size (getting bigger or smaller) and might or might not hurt. The most common places these form are on the back of the wrist, the palm side of the wrist, the palm side base of the finger, and the back of the end joint of the finger.

A ganglion cyst can be either a fluid-filled area of the wrist or a herniation within a joint capsule or tendon of the wrist. Typically, ganglion cysts occur on the back of the wrist. They often appear in people who play sports that require frequent wrist motion, such as softball.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Indiana University Athletic Training Education Program)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.