Get Rid of a Ganglion- Painlessly

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About: I live on the outskirts of Melbourne. I love the way I can just look out of my window and see gum trees, hills and bird visitors (kookaburras, magpies, rosellas, cockatoos, blue wrens and many more all visit...

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!
 

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Step 1: 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

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

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.
 

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260 Discussions

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ErikS178

8 months ago

Often it doesn't take a genius to think of something usefull. Just a bright moment is enough. This is one of those cases. I've got a ganglion on the inner wrist at the base of the thumb and I've tried to wrap some bandage around it but that didnt give enough pressure where it was needed. Ofcourse putting something under the bandage right on the cyst is the solution. I'm gunna get rid of it this way now. Thanks for sharing your advise. You may not be a doctor but to be fair this is a medical complication doctors don't seem to know much about. Their treatments are draining or surgical removement. Draining is often just temporalily decreasing the pressure as the cyst will simply refill and surgery is obviously very destructive against the surrounding tissues. I'm glad I've found this page before trying to let it get drained.

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MyaVT

4 years ago

Remember folks. The reason our cysts keep coming back is because of a tube or cord from the joint to the cyst. No matter what we do to the cyst, the cord keeps refilling it with clear gelatinous gel/fluid. I had one that I drained for a year and it is finally gone, and another one that shows no sign of drying up at all! :(

3 replies
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xxxafterglowMyaVT

Reply 11 months ago

Got back from my second attempt at draining my cyst - we used an ultrasound and a fat needle this time, too!
Anyway, doc mentioned applying pressure after drainage (via bandage) to get the walls of the fluid sac to stick and bind together in order to lessen the odds of it filling up again.
The second aspiration was unsuccessful, but docs okayed the eraser method and when I asked, they were both like, "Oh yeah, sustained compression" and advised me to try it tonight while I have steroids in there. I've got it on right now - I'll report back if it is successful!
I'm glad this instructable exists and has helped people!

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Puzzleddxxxafterglow

Reply 11 months ago

Thanks for your feedback - good to know that the method is OK'd by professionals :) Hope your treatment works well!

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PuzzleddMyaVT

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for your comment. My understanding was that the tube is the sheath around the tendon which can become swollen with an excess of lubricating fluid, but I have no medical training ;) I've updated the link above to a recommended article via the US National Library of Medicine, and it seems to explain the situation clearly. And of course, you're right that compression won't stop the fluid entering the tube, but it may help to disperse excess and reduce swelling, even if it's not permanent. I hope your persistent one clears up!

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greeneyesclo

2 years ago

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.

1 reply
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Puzzleddgreeneyesclo

Reply 2 years ago

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 ;)

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JudyK57

2 years ago

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.

1 reply
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PuzzleddJudyK57

Reply 2 years ago

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 :)

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JR84

2 years ago

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.

1 reply
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PuzzleddJR84

Reply 2 years ago

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

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Rux92

2 years ago

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!



1 reply
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PuzzleddRux92

Reply 2 years ago

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!

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

4 replies
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agulesinporcupinemamma

Reply 2 years ago

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

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

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KJ101

3 years ago

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!

1 reply