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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

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Ganglions - Topic Overview


How are they treated?

Ganglions usually don't need treatment, and they often go away on their own. But treatment may be needed if the ganglion causes pain or other symptoms, limits what you can do, affects your bones or ligaments, or gets infected. You may also want treatment if you're bothered by how the bump looks.

Your doctor may treat a ganglion by:

  • Giving you a wrist or finger splint to wear.
  • Draining fluid from the bump with a needle (aspiration).
  • Injecting hydrocortisone into the joint.
  • Doing surgery to remove it.

With or without treatment, ganglions may come and go and may get bigger or smaller.

What can you do at home for a ganglion?

  • Use a wrist or finger splint for several weeks. This may be all that is needed for the ganglion to shrink and disappear on its own. Make sure that the splint isn't too tight. Numbness, tingling, pain, or coolness in your hand are signs that you need to loosen the splint.
  • Do not smash a ganglion with a book or other heavy object. You may break a bone or otherwise injure your wrist by trying this folk remedy, and the ganglion may return anyway.
  • Do not try to drain the fluid by poking the ganglion with a pin or any other sharp object. You could cause an infection.
  • If the ganglion breaks open on its own and the skin is broken:
    • Apply an antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Stop using the ointment if a rash or irritation develops under the bandage.
    • Wash the area 2 or 3 times each day to prevent infection.
  • Call your doctor if you have signs of infection (increased pain or redness, red streaks, pus coming from the bump, fever).

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about ganglions:

Getting treatment:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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