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More Harmless than They Look: Identifying Cysts

It’s easy to mix up look-alikes. Identical twins deal with this frequently, but even similar buildings, clothes, car shapes, or any other feature that resembles something else often suffers a mistaken identity. These mix-ups happen in health, too, which can lead to panic when you develop lumps and bumps! Fortunately, not all lumps are tumors. Ganglion cysts are small, common, non-cancerous bumps. Knowing how to identify one can save you a lot of grief.

Cysts are thin, fluid-filled sacs that grow in the body. The one most commonly found on the feet is called a ganglion cyst. This particular jelly-filled pouch develops on a tendon sheath or a joint capsule. Usually the lump it creates is quite small, but it can vary in size. The good news is that this particular foot lump is benign, so it’s fairly harmless unless it’s pressing on a nerve and causing pain.

Not all lumps are benign, however, so when one appears on your foot or the front of your ankle, you want to know, of course, if it’s a ganglion cyst or something more serious. Here are a few signs that your bump is actually a cyst:

  • Shape and Size – Ganglion cysts are usually rounded or oval in shape and normally less than an inch wide. Typically the exact size of the bump fluctuates.

  • Discomfort Level – Normally these lumps are not painful. They may, however, be uncomfortable in your shoes or if they’re pressing on a nerve in your foot.

  • How it Feels – The cyst can range from soft and squishy to fairly firm. It shouldn’t feel hard like bone, however. When it’s attached to a tendon in your foot, it can make your lower limb feel weaker than normal as well.

  • Light Signs – Light actually passes through the clear fluid in a ganglion cyst, unlike solid tumors. You should be able to put a pen light to the lump and see it glow through.

It’s always best to have experts like our team at Absolute Foot Care Specialists check lumps and bumps on your feet, even if you do think it’s a ganglion cyst. We can use our tools to confirm that it’s harmless, rather than risk something serious going untreated. Make an appointment with our Las Vegas offices right away by calling (702) 839-2010. You can also use our online forms.

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