Although we may not commonly think of cysts forming in the foot, they do indeed occur there. Cysts are basically fluid-filled sacs. Most often, foot cysts will develop under the skin, but they can also be associated with joints, ligaments, or bones. Cysts can cause pain because of the pressure put on them by footwear or if they are located near a nerve. There are a few different kinds of foot cysts. Synovial and ganglion cysts form on a joint or tendon of the foot. Ganglion means “knot” and this type of cyst is so named because it is filled with a jelly-like fluid that forms a mass that resembles a knot under the skin. Mucoid cysts are another kind of foot cyst that is not connected to a joint.
Causes of Cysts
Doctors are not exactly sure why cysts form. It may have to do with a deformity in the joints or the structure of the foot. A cyst can also develop after an injury which breaks down tissues of the joints. Some believe that improper fitting footwear can put unnatural pressure on certain areas of the foot and cause cysts to develop.
Diagnosis and Treatment
At Edmond/Norman Foot & Ankle Clinic we have treated Ganglion and other types of cysts on feet many times. The first step to receiving a diagnosis is to have a physical exam by our board certified podiatrist, Dr. A. Bil Buksh. Although often times the exam itself can confirm the presence of a cyst, further imaging tests, such as digital x-rays (which can be performed in either our Edmond or Norman office), an MRI, or ultrasound may be ordered. Sometimes the foot doctor may withdraw a small amount of fluid from the cyst by means of needle aspiration and have it analyzed.
Treatment for cysts can range from doing nothing more than monitoring them to draining them, injecting them with a steroid, or surgically removing them. Also, orthotics can be used to alleviate pressure put on parts of the foot and nerves by the cysts. Your podiatrist will prescribe the best treatment for your cyst based on its severity, position, and whether or not it is a reoccurring cyst.