Introduction: Get Rid of a Ganglion- Painlessly

Picture of Get Rid of a Ganglion- Painlessly

If you have a ganglion cyst* on your hand or foot, the treatments can be painful, if not dire:

 you can go to your doctor who will insert a big needle and drain the cyst (ouch!),
you can have surgery- expensive and painful – double ouch
or the old folk remedy is to hit it with the family bible – triple ouch!

I haven’t tried the surgery or the family bible remedy, but I have had a ganglion drained- it wasn’t fun, and it did grow back after about a year.

The next time it appeared, I worked out my own remedy- cheap, relatively painless, and effective- the ganglion hasn’t re-appeared and it’s been a few years now.

* Of course, you need to go to your doctor to get any lump checked- don't just assume it's a ganglion.

 For more information on ganglia, check with your doctor or on the internet. The main image I have used here is from Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganglion_cyst (I can’t photograph mine as I don’t have it any more!). Remember that information on the internet is just someone's opinion and may not be accurate!
 

Step 1: What I Used

Picture of What I Used

What I used:

i. an old eraser with worn edges, large enough to cover the ganglion* (you’re going to press in against your skin so it should be firm but not hard, with rounded edges so they won’t dig in).

ii. a bandage (stretchy is best) and closure/safety pins

* If your ganglion is huge, it’s probably gone too far for this method to work- best to treat it while it’s still small. Remember that this method may not be right for you.; check with your health professional.
 

Step 2: The Method

Picture of The Method

NOTE- if you are not sure about this, check with your doctor- I have no medical training! The ganglion is likely to grow back without surgery, but you can repeat the treatment easily if it does.

Here's the method I used-

i.Check that the edges of the eraser are rounded- wear them down by rubbing on a scrap of cardboard if they are a bit "sharp".

ii. Place the worn eraser over the ganglion and
iii. bandage firmly, ensuring that circulation is not cut off with the bandage.

Leave it on overnight. Check in the morning and repeat the next night if necessary.

 

Step 3: The Results

Picture of The Results

The fluid was pressed back into the tissue, leaving my skin smooth(ish) again.

Notes:

A ganglion cyst is formed when fluid leaks into the sheath around the tendon/joint.

Hitting it with a heavy object will rupture the cyst and let the fluid drain into the surrounding tissue.

My method was more gentle and allowed a more natural reversal of the problem, forcing the fluid back out of the cyst gradually without damaging the surrounding area – but as I say, I’m not a doctor so get medical opinion for diagnosis and advice if you’re not sure what to do.
 

Comments

greeneyesclo (author)2017-08-09

I found an old wrist brace designed for my right hand. So I reversed it, and now the rigid part is on the top of my hand and pressing against the cyst on the top my left hand. My cyst is located in the same area as the very top photo at the beginning of this article. I am hopeful that this will help to press the fluids back where they belong. I have already had mine drained twice, and its back again.

I am sad about this as it gets to a point where it starts to cause pain and discomfort in my hand. Thankfully I am not left handed. I do not like needles and I do find having it drained very uncomfortable even though it doesn't take very long.I tried the eraser trick, and sadly it never worked for me. I found it never sat quite well enough on my cyst, I guess it was too large.

Puzzledd (author)greeneyesclo2017-08-11

Your wrist brace idea is very clever - whatever works to apply steady pressure across the cyst. I hope it works for you, as it sounds pretty far gone and it's probably a 'weak' area now. If you do have to get it drained, it could be worth keeping an eye on it and bandaging at night (or using your brace) when you see signs of it re-appearing, to discourage it from forming ;)

JudyK57 (author)2017-07-06

I have ganglion cyst on my wrist at base of thumb. It has 4 peaks on it. I was told by Dr asst it was on an artery. Was wondering if any home remedies would work rather than surgery.

Puzzledd (author)JudyK572017-08-11

Hi Judy, I'm sorry I didn't reply earlier - just saw your post. I hope you've managed to get some solution for your cyst! I would always recommend getting proper medical advice of there's any likely risk - and being on an artery sounds as if you would have to be very careful applying pressure. Good luck :)

VelindaW made it! (author)2017-05-10

I used this method for a stubborn ganglion cyst on the top of my foot and it finally went away after a month. First I had the cyst aspirated (for the second time). Then I wrapped it daily with an eraser. I used a cloth bandage at night and a cohesive synthetic bandage during the day (so I could fit it into my shoe). The podiatrist initially had me just wrap it with a bandage, but that didn't put enough pressure on the cyst and it came back. The eraser really helped a lot! Thanks so much! ^_^

Velinda

Vallejo, California, United States

Puzzledd (author)VelindaW2017-05-15

Wow, I'm so pleased it worked for you, Velinda! Thanks for sharing your success and photo :)

JR84 (author)2017-05-06

I used this guide as inspiration for getting rid of my ganglion cyst using acute pressure, which worked in significantly reducing the size of the cyst! Tonight I will try this method to press on the area the cyst used to be and try to keep the fluid from returning. Thank you for writing up your method and sharing.

Puzzledd (author)JR842017-05-07

You're welcome! I'm so glad it helped you, and I hope you manage to get rid of the cyst altogether :)

Rux92 (author)2017-03-07

Omg I can't express how happy I am to come across this solution. I have a ganglion cyst on my foot. Had it for more than 4 years and it's never pained as much as the past two weeks, I can barely walk which made me research more about it.

It even hurts when moving or sleeping. I don't have a rubber or bandage at home currently but the pain in my foot won't let me sleep so I used a small round makeup lid and a thin scarf as a bandage.

It hurts like crazy but I can feel it work under the bandage.

Thank you so much!



Puzzledd (author)Rux92 2017-03-07

Oh, I really hope it works for you and that you get some relief! Perhaps elevate your foot when you can to help the fluid drain away? Good luck!

porcupinemamma (author)2010-10-15

When I was in college, this site was reccommended and endorsed by the professional nurse who taught many of the medical courses I took. The information is presented in a clear and concise manner.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/ganglioncysts/op089105.pdf

agulesin (author)porcupinemamma2017-02-28

"We're sorry. The interactive health tutorials are no longer available on MedlinePlus."

Just in case anyone else is looking for it...

Puzzledd (author)porcupinemamma2010-10-15

Thanks for the info- this looks good, with clear diagrams, too:)

porcupinemamma (author)Puzzledd2010-10-15

You are most welcome. Hope you have a happy weekend. BTW, the bird in your avatar is very very sweet.

KJ101 (author)2016-02-08

I've had a ganglion cyst palm side, under the thumb (volar ganglion) for about 3-4 years now. I was lucky in that it never really hurt, and it wasn't all that big, but for a few months recently it had stayed a larger size and I was tired of it being there. Even though I'd looked into removal methods before, this was the first time I found this method! I really didn't want to have surgery on something so minor and delicate, and then I found some sources that said draining a volar ganglion is risky because it's so close to the radial artery.

Anyway, I decided I'd give this a shot before trying anything more invasive, AND IT WORKED! I don't usually use caps, I'm pretty excited. I didn't wear it overnight because I was being cautious due to a warning in one of the previous comments about damage to tendons on the palm side. So I just wore it for about 30 mins at a time, and at the most, it was slightly uncomfortable for a little while. Then I increased my time across several days; I think the max I wore the wrapping at one time was three hours. The cyst is barely visible now; if I bend my wrist back I can see just the slightest bulge, and it's still a bit squishy, but it's so so so much better.

Thank you so much for this remedy! I know this isn't researched and people could have different results in this process, but I wish this info was more well-known. Aside from some people saying they massage their cyst when it's small, this is the only place I've ever seen this kind of advice, and it's much more practical than anything else. Thanks again!

porcupinemamma (author)KJ1012017-02-28

That's wonderful news :)

Puzzledd (author)KJ1012016-02-09

You're welcome- I'm SO pleased it worked for you. I'm glad you're being careful when it's in such a delicate area, and I hope you continue to have success :)

JaimieB1 (author)2016-04-18

Ok I have hit it with a bible yes it hurt it came back months later ...now no lump but pain ...do u think it would work ?

porcupinemamma (author)JaimieB12017-02-28

Oh Jaimie B1, I really had to smile, when you said you hit it with the bible. It is a beautiful book that helps our soul... and now our bodies. Wonderful. Be well my friend.

Puzzledd (author)JaimieB12016-04-18

If there's pain there I'd get it checked by a doctor in case the whack has caused some damage inside... hope it's OK!

der_fisherman (author)2016-10-18

Well done!

Fabulous! I am so happy for you! :)

Puzzledd (author)der_fisherman2016-10-18

Thanks :)

Puzzledd (author)2017-02-27

Thanks, Lextone.... I was wondering too :)

Lextone made it! (author)2016-07-17

Using a key float instead of an eraser. Feels like it's working. Thanks for the great Instructable.

Puzzledd (author)Lextone2016-07-18

Interesting - thanks for sharing, and for the pic. Hope it works for you :)

KatieJ43 (author)Puzzledd2017-02-26

What is a key float? Thanks

Lextone made it! (author)KatieJ432017-02-27

Its a piece of foam rubber you attach to your boat keys. if you drop it in the water, it wont sink.

Lextone (author)Puzzledd2016-07-27

It worked. It was very painful at first, so I only did it for an hour at a time until it felt better, then left it on all night. It has been reduced to about a third of its original size. Ill continue with this. Thanks for the Ible'.

Lex

Puzzledd (author)Lextone2016-07-28

Glad it seems to be working for you! Hope you have further success :)

KatieJ43 (author)Lextone2017-02-26

What is a key float?

RodneyM28 (author)2017-01-21

Well I'll go get some bandages tomorrow and see how this turns out. I think mine has been getting a little bigger lately. Anything to not go to a doctor ;)

Puzzledd (author)RodneyM282017-01-21

Good luck! If it's been there a while, it may take several goes to reverse the leakage and heal the surrounding tissues. Hope it works for you :)

DorothyF9 (author)2016-12-31

Can you get a ganglion cyst on your forearm?

DannyW46 (author)2016-12-06

You are amazing. I have a ganglion on the top of my large toe. I augmented your method simply by sitting down, curling down my toe and compressing it with my foot's body weight. After about an hour or so, the mass disappeared. Following that, I pressed on the residual mass to clean out the sac as much as possible from the residual fluid. As I flatten the sac, I feel a small pop inside. What I hypothesize is that the weakness of the sac is in its stem area and the popping was caused by my compressing of the residual fluid. I hope it does not come back, but your method definitely works for me for now :).

Puzzledd (author)DannyW462016-12-06

Great! I'm so pleased it worked well for you :)

DannyW46 (author)Puzzledd2016-12-06

Oh no, mine just reoccurred. Did you do it continually for it to disappear? Did yours reoccur at the beginning?

Puzzledd (author)DannyW462016-12-06

You may need to bandage it for a few nights until the tissue surrounding the ganglion settles back into place, otherwise the sac will still be there and inclined to re-fill with fluid. I was warned that they often re-occur (I guess there's a weakness in the tissue in the first place, so fluid can seep in). Hope you manage to get it under control - they're a small thing but surprisingly annoying!

Iamfixed (author)2016-11-20

Well blow me down with a feather this procedure really does work. I had a self diagnosed synovial finger cyst on my wedding finger on the joint next to my wedding ring. This cyst developed about 6 months ago. After 3 months I could no longer remove my rings. 3 months later the cyst had double in size and was unsightly.

I researched treatments and discovered I could have surgery which would leave a scar or have it drained. The draining option was not a definite fix as the fluid can continue to leak out.

I decided to try the eraser treatment. Each night for two weeks I placed an eraser on the cyst and bound it on with a sticking plaster. Pressure was applied which sometimes caused discomfort. Occasionally this discomfort meant I couldn't leave it on all night.

After a week the cyst had halved in size and now 2 weeks on it has gone. All that is left is a small hole under the skin which appears to be disappearing too.

Canadianboy (author)2016-10-17

I have a small ganglion cyst like half the size of the on in the picture and I've done the eraser on and off for at least 4days and 5 nights. And I noticed it has gotten squishier but it's not gone and the eraser is causing my skin to hurt and go red. But I don't really notice a size change just that it got squishier?

Puzzledd (author)Canadianboy2016-10-17

Sorry it's not working for you... I'd give my hand a rest if I were you; maybe just bandage at night without the eraser, and if your cyst isn't draining away see a doctor about getting it drained. Good luck!

FauziaA (author)2016-08-04

Finally got my eraser and ace bandage. I tried it and it doesn't feel to bad. I could probably sleep with it. My ganglion is very hard, feels like a stone :( so I'm afraid this may not work. Smashing it has not worked of late. I think it may have in the past.

I have an appt set up with an orthopedic doc to have it drained but hoping this will get rid of it first. I'm kinda craving having it drained though lol.

Puzzledd (author)FauziaA2016-08-04

I'm glad you're getting a professional to look at it- sounds nasty if you've already been smashing it (OUCH!) and it's gone hard. Hope you get it sorted!

FauziaA (author)Puzzledd2016-08-11

Finally went to the ortho and had X rays. It's a run of the mill ganglion and according to the doc it's not very hard. To me it feels very hard but I trust him. Anyway, he did not even mention draining it. He suggested outpatient surgery with local anesthesia to remove. I'm going to make an appt with another ortho for drainage. Why would I jump straight into surgery without even trying to drain first? And I'm trying the eraser method again and may do it for a few nights in the hope of some change. I'm having trouble keeping the eraser over the ganglion though as it tends to slide back.

FauziaA (author)Puzzledd2016-08-04

As far as I recall it has always been hard! I cannot remember it ever feeling soft to the touch.

michellelizabeth87. made it! (author)2016-07-18

I have ganglion cysts on my wrist for years and I didn't know what it was until when it recently started to get really painful. It gotten so painful that it interfered with my daily activities. I couldn't apply any pressure or it would strain and hurt for days. The options are like most mentioned, to remove the fluid with a syringe or go for a minor surgery. However, my dad who is a Chinese physician, treated me with his method. Please note that this treatment is by an experience and certified Sinseh. He use a 0.35mm acupuncture needle and burn it till red hot. Then he quickly poke and release at the infected cysts. I am lucky as I only did this once and the pain was gone. He told me that I would need a few more follow up and that is may reoccur in future. I am so glad it is gone now. Hopefully, forever. Regarding the method suggested my the author, my dad said it works only if the cysts is not too big or after the fluid is drained (to disperse the remaining fluid in the wrist if any). Good luck to the rest of you! Hope you get cured soon.

You're lucky to have a physician in the family- great that you got good treatment and as you say by someone qualified. Thank you for the note that the pressure/bandage should only be used if the cyst isn't too full of fluid- that's worth remembering :)

ImamM17 (author)2016-07-25

i had a synovial cyst on my right wrist for about 2 years before i decided to go for a surgery. Now, two years after the surgery, the cyst slowly came back. I'm a basketball player, without using my hand it's useless. I already tried the treatment that you did long time ago but didn't work. i'm planning buy some wrist splint to prevent my wrist from bending again. I hope this could work. Any opinion on my case ?

Puzzledd (author)ImamM172016-07-28

I'd still be inclined to try bandaging overnight for a while to see if it works, especially if it's not too big yet, and I guess it's worth trying the wrist split too - both non-invasive, cheap and should be harmless if you don't overdo it - but you may need to seek medical opinion as it sounds as if it's a big problem for you. Good luck, and let us know how you go :)

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