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What are Ganglion Cysts and Plantar Fibromatosis?

A ganglion cyst refers to a single tissue mass (bump, tumor) under the skin over joints or tendons of the foot, wrist, fingers, and other parts of the body. They contain a clear, viscous, gelatinous fluid and are almost always benign (not cancerous). Although they can be painless, they are usually associated with tenderness and pain that can restrict movement. The mass of the plantar fibromatosis appears on the sole of the foot on the plantar fascia.

Causes of Ganglion Cysts

A ganglionic cyst is caused by mild or chronic sprain in a foot joint or tendon, or irritation of the fibrous sheath (covering) of a joint or tendon. Sprains and irritation can be caused or exacerbated by:

  • Repeated injury, for example, the repeated mild sprains experienced by runners, jumpers, and other athletes
  • Inadequate warm up
  • Inadequate strength or conditioning
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Occupational factors that place undue stress on certain joints

Causes of Plantar Fibromatosis

Unknown but appears to have a hereditary and trauma basis.

Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts and Plantar Fibromatosis

  • A ganglion is a visible lump formed under the skin that is movable with lateral pressure
  • Contents of the mass is jelly-like
  • Usually painless but can be sensitive and restrict range of movement
  • Can change in size (both grow and shrink) over time
  • The plantar fibroma is a hard fixed mass frequently very tender at the onset in the area of the planter fascia.

Treatment of Ganglion Cysts and Plantar Fibromas

See a physician to rule out other diagnoses, such as a cancerous tumor. Preventative treatment for athletes includes proper warm up and conditioning. Existing ganglion cysts and plantar fibromas can sometimes disappear spontaneously. Treatments include:

  • Rest
  • Splinting the affected joint
  • Piercing the wall of the ganglion to allow the fluid to escape (done by a physician)
  • Surgery

The information provided herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a licensed physician.

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