ganglions usually occur when
osteoarthritis symptoms develop, at middle age or
older. This type of ganglion is more common in women than men.
Mucous cyst ganglions are found at the joint nearest the fingernail
(distal interphalangeal [DIP] joint). The ganglion is firm and does not easily
move under the skin. These ganglions may be painful and may break open,
increasing the risk of infection. The fingernail may grow irregularly or be
misshapen because the ganglion is near the growth cells for the
Because of the risk of infection, a mucous cyst ganglion should not
be broken open on purpose. Occasionally a ganglion opens on its own. Home
treatment may be all that is needed.
Treatment measures include removing the ganglion fluid with a needle
(aspiration) to temporarily shrink the cyst, injecting the
hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation and possibly
lower the chance that it will return, or removing the ganglion with surgery. The ganglion may
return after treatment. Bone spurs (small, bony growths that form along a
joint) are often present in the joint next to a mucous
cyst, and removing the bone spurs makes it less likely that the cyst will return.
Infection is a possible complication of aspiration and
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerHerbert von Schroeder, MD, MSc, FRCSC - Hand and Microvascular Surgery