If you've just noticed a lump on the top of your foot, you may be alarmed. However, the lump may be a harmless ganglion cyst and not a threat to your health. It's best to see a foot doctor so you can get a diagnosis and rule out more a more serious problem such as an infection or cancer. Here are some things to know about a ganglion cyst on your foot.
The Cysts Aren't Cancerous
Ganglion cysts aren't cancerous and they don't spread. However, a cyst can grow larger. Your foot doctor can probably tell by looking and touching the lump to tell if it is a cyst. If they want to make sure, the doctor may order medical imaging tests or aspirate the fluid and test it for cancer cells.
The Cause Might Remain a Mystery
These cysts are quite common, although they appear more often on the wrists. Cysts can develop due to a repetitive motion or injury. However, you may never know why you developed the cyst.
A ganglion cyst can go away and come back in the same place or in a different place. It might be small, or it might grow quite large and be even more concerning. However, if the cyst on your foot doesn't hurt you or keep you from walking and wearing shoes, then you may not need to undergo medical treatment.
Treatment You Could Need
Your foot doctor might recommend watching the cyst and waiting for it to go away. This is because the cyst can shrink on its own or it might even pop under your skin and drain. If the cyst is large, the foot doctor might remove the fluid with a syringe. If the lump causes pain or keeps you from going about your usual activities, the doctor might remove the cyst surgically.
Removing the fluid and removing the cyst surgically may not be a permanent cure. Just like when a cyst goes away on its own and comes back, it can come back after medical treatment. In that case, you may need to repeat the procedure until the cyst stays away for good.
Sometimes the cyst goes away after treatment and doesn't come back, so it's worth discussing the treatment options with your foot doctor. Even though the appearance of the lump might be bothersome, as long as you're assured the cyst doesn't threaten your health, it may be a little easier to live with until it goes away on its own.
To learn more about treatments for ganglion cysts, visit a foot doctor near you.