What Does It Mean if You Have a Lump on Your Wrist?
Lump on your wrist, fingers, and palms can be appear due to injury, work-induced blisters, and insect bites. Sometimes, if you experience these symptoms, it can be an indication of bigger health problems. If you have this health issue, you should treat it with utmost seriousness.
This problem is commonly referred as a ganglion cyst of the wrist. It is a mild formation that takes a form of a cyst or capsule. Only a few people know that lumps are not just an aesthetic, but they can be a threat of your well-being.
Where it might appear
Lumps might appear on your wrist and you can feel it either on taut or soft but it can also develop in the following areas:
On the surface of the palm either closer to the thumb or at the center.
On the inner surface of the finger mostly in the knuckle or phalanx.
The reason for appearance
Your lump may form for no apparent reason. It can remain unchanged for several years while other instances it can dramatically increase in size in just a few days.
They include the following;
Prolonged repetitive wrist movements.
Inherent weakness of the osseous-articular apparatus.
A recent injury, improperly, or injury healed fracture of the bone.
Degenerative illness of the joints.
Inflammation of the soft tissues of the wrist.
The appearance of the lump is normally accompanied by the following symptoms;
The skin on your lump turns red and sometimes peels off.
Having difficulties on your joint movement when you are flexing your wrists and fingers.
Having dull aching pain due to the irritation of the surrounding tissues.
Decrease or increase skin sensitivity caused by the fact of the growing cyst that put pressure on your nerves and blood vessels.
Although there is no risk you may face when your cyst develops into a malignant tumor, this does not mean you should not visit your doctor. You are advised to consult your doctor to determine the cause of the disease while you take the necessary steps towards an effective treatment.
Physical Examination and Medical History
In the initial appointment, the doctor will discuss the symptoms and your medical history. He will ask you for how long you have had the ganglion, whether it is painful, and whether it changes in size.
To identify any tenderness, pressure may be applied. Since a ganglion is filled with a fluid, it is translucent. The doctor shines a penlight up to the cyst to see if the light shines through.
X-rays. This test gives clear pictures of compact structures such as bone. However, x-rays do not show the ganglion cyst but can be used to rule out conditions such as the bone tumor or arthritis.
Ultrasounds or Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans
These are imaging tests that can clearly show some soft tissues such as a ganglion. Other times, ultrasound or an MRI is needed to get an occult ganglion that is not visible, or to tell between the ganglion cysts from other tumors.
The initial treatment of the ganglion cyst is not surgical.
Observation. Since ganglion is not cancerous and can disappear any time, if there are no symptoms, the doctor may recommend you wait and watch to make sure no unusual changes happen.
Immobilization. An activity often causes the ganglion to increase in size and increase the pressure on nerves and causes some pain. A wrist splint or brace may relieve the symptoms and make the ganglion to decrease in size. As the pain decreases, the doctor may prescribe exercises to strengthen your wrist and improve the range of motion.
Aspiration. Sometimes the ganglion may cause more pain and severely limit activities and the fluid can be drained from it. This procedure is known as aspiration whereby the area around the ganglion cyst is numbed, and the cyst is punctured with a needle, and the fluid is withdrawn. In most cases, the ganglion cyst returns after the procedure of aspiration. The aspiration procedures are highly recommended for the ganglions that are located on the top of the wrist.
Your doctor can recommend surgery if the symptoms are not relieved by methods of nonsurgical, or if the ganglions return after the aspiration procedure. The surgical procedure to remove a ganglion cyst is known as excision.
The surgery involves removing the cyst and the part of the involved tendon sheath or joint capsule which is the root of the ganglion. After the excision procedure, the chances of the ganglion to return are minimal.
The excision is typically an outpatient procedure, and patients can go home after a period of observation in the area of recovery. There might be some swelling, tenderness, and discomfort after surgery. The normal activities may resume after 3 to 6 weeks after the surgery.