Anyone had a ganglion cyst in the wrist?


November 21, 2005, 12:56 AM
I've developed a ganglion cyst in my right wrist, possibly caused by recoil from handgun shooting. It's basically a small fluid-filled sack that grows from a joint or tendon sheath. Mine is large enough that I can't shoot a handgun with any real level of recoil without experiencing a sharp jolt of pain in that wrist.

I'm seeing my doctor ASAP to get his opinion on treatment (either aspiration or surgical excision), but in the meantime, I wonder if any THR members have had one of these little nasties, and if so, how it was treated and what the end result was. At any rate, it's been a good reason to do more weak-handed practice!

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November 21, 2005, 01:05 AM
Only problem I have with my wrists is what I think is carpal tunnel.
Not entirely sure I have it.
But keyboardists (I type a LOT), guitarists (got me there too) and other activities that involve repetative hand movements get it...
So I'd be suprised if I didn't have it.
Mostly in my right hand/arm is where I feel the pains.

November 21, 2005, 01:45 AM
I am not sure if I have it or not, but if I shoot my 10mm more than 30 rds my wrist starts hurting. If I shoot it more than 50 rds, it becomes painful. If its more than 70, I feel as though someone drove an ice pick through my wrist, and it hurts for at least 2 days with lots of stiffness.:confused:

Let us know what happens and what the doc says. I may get this checked out too...

Sir Aardvark
November 21, 2005, 01:53 AM
You could always revert to the old-fashioned non-surgical technique..... the Family Bible!.

Just lay your wrist on the kitchen table, cyst side up, and have someone smack it really hard with the bible; cyst goes "Pop!", and if you're lucky, it will completely resolve.

Of course, most times they just come back bigger, but you won't know 'til you try it.

Aspiration may work well at first, but don't be surprised if the cyst reappears.

Surgery is usually 100% effective,'s surgery; most often going under the knife, even for minor procedures, is the last option.

November 21, 2005, 01:58 AM

I usually revert to battery when something I own doesn't work...but I never thought of doing that when my body didn't work right...

Sounds good to me!

November 21, 2005, 03:15 AM
I've got one in my left wrist, but thankfully it's not prominent enough to cause pain when shooting (usually). Occationally if I put alot of weight on that wrist it does hurt though. It also seems to fluctuate in size. When it's in a large phase it's more sensetive, and I have felt pain when shooting rifles prone, or in other situations where my left wrist is bent at a severe angle and pressure is applied.

Moparmike, if you're wondering whether you have one, see a doctor. What's a $5 copay? I didn't need a doctor to know I had one. I can see mine easily if I bend my wrists down and touch my thumb knuckles together, to compare the profile with my right wrist. Despite being full of fluid, they are quite hard. Instead of flexing when prodded, they will slip out from under the invading finger like an icecube on glass.

I've been told by my doctor not to opt for surgery, though it was so long ago I've forgotten why. Nextjoe, let us know what your doctor says when you ask about treatment, my interest is rekindled.

November 21, 2005, 03:38 AM
The treatment they did for my wifes ganglion cyst was to jab it repeatedly with the largest bore needle in their inventory.

They explained that it would pop the cyst and generate enough scar tissue to impede further growth.

It did take about 8 years for it to grow back.

November 21, 2005, 03:44 AM
I developed one of those on the first joint of my thumb a few months ago. The doctor said to leave it alone or at most massage it. I hadn't thought about the bump in a while but I just checked and for what it's worth mine has shrunk a lot since it first formed.

I'm not a doctor obviously but mashing it with a bible or anything else sounds like a very bad idea to me. The ganglion is a bulge in one of the sacs that buffer between joints, if you break that buffer you could damage the joint.

Double Naught Spy
November 21, 2005, 11:22 AM
As a teenager, I had them several times, occurring on both wrists, but never two at once. I grew up calling them Bible Bumps as per my mother, but knew them to be ganglion cysts after visiting the doctor. My brother had them as well. The doctor refused to drain them since I was still growing.

Bible bashing (that's bashing with a Bible) does work. Kurush is worried about damaging the joint via rupturing the cyst. Depending on how old you are, I would be worried about damaging the bone itself.

In junior high, I had a couple that went away during physical contact. My wrist was stepped on in gym class, rupturing the cyst, and providing remarkable pain relief that was almost instant. In another event, my arm got slamming into a wall during roughhousing, with the same result.

I did have friends treat me with books. In high school, the biggest book anyone had was an anatomy book. It took 4 guys and a bunch of attempts, but the end result was produced and was successful. I was bruised from the multiple attempts leading up to the successful attempt, but had a LOT of relief.

The pain I endured from having my wrist smashed with a big book was pretty insignificant compared to the pain caused by the cyst. I am not suggesting you have your wrist bashed, but if you experience pain like I did, it can be almost crippling.

Since high school, they have only come back one or two times, both minor and short term incidents that posed little problem.

November 21, 2005, 11:32 AM
I had one in college on my wrist. First had it drained and it came back in a month or so. Then had it surgically removed. Haven't had a problem since.


November 21, 2005, 11:35 AM
The only way to heal is cold steel.

The Undertoad
November 21, 2005, 11:39 AM
Yes I have had one in my right (dominant) wrist. Comes and goes. It sucks. Doesn't bother me unless I use the computer a LOT or do LOTS of pushups or trick rifle drill... But man when it gets bad it gets BAD. Never had any sort of medical treatment for it... Tried the bible method once with a dictionary but couldn't get it to pop.

November 21, 2005, 11:51 AM
Lone Gunman, speaking as the surgeon he is, recommends surgery. Surgery is indeed definitive, but often, a trial of aspiration to drain the cyst is tried first. According to whose studies you like to quote, about 70% or so of the ganglion cysts never recur after one aspiration, and about 85% take up to three aspirations to resolve.

The location, size, and degree of pain or neurological compromise (numbness, tingling, loss of strength or sensation) in the wrist, hand or fingers caused by the cyst can help decide on aspiration vs. surgery. Generally speaking, a smaller cyst or a cyst on the back of the hand is more amenable to aspiration. A cyst in close proximity to a joint, tendon or in the wrist is more often considered a surgical candidate.

Were I in your shoes, I would go to see an orthopedic surgeon or a hand surgeon. Most, but not all, hand surgeons are also orthopedists. They can do either the aspiration or surgery as need be. A primary care physician, such as an internist or family practitioner, may be able to do the aspiration, but could not do surgery, if indicated. And in a tricky location like a wrist or tendon sheath, most primary care physicians would not want to try an aspiration, leaving that instead to the experts.

November 21, 2005, 12:01 PM
I had one on my left wrist in my late teens. One day I fell on the ice, and tried to catch myself with that hand and busted the cyst. It hasn't come back in 30 yrs now.

Funny thing was that I fell in the driveway of some really rich folks that I was working for, and at that moment the lady was horrified - I guess she thought they were going to get sued. :D

November 21, 2005, 12:09 PM
Got one on my right hand just "down stream" of the wrist. It dosn't give me any trouble.

November 21, 2005, 12:24 PM
I had one on my right wrist and after several months because it would occasionally cause me intense pain and because the doctor I went to see told me that with aspiration it could return I chose the surgery. The doctor told me it would be minimal and that they would use an anesthetic block on my arm and that I would be consious during the operation. I had asked the doctor if there were any complications to stop and just drain it and close it up. Well I was not awake during the procedure and when I woke up I had a cast on my arm all the way to my elbow. The doctor said my cyst needed to be cut out of the tendon and my tendon repaired. I ended up with scar tissue and now I have less fine motor movement than before and it took several months of Physical therapy to get that. That was over 3 years ago now and it bothers me everyday instead of occasionally like the cyst did.

My recomendation is to try other methods first and surgery as a last resort.
Put Ganglion Cyst in your search engine and check out what they say about it and if your Dr. says the surgery will only be minimal and you'll have full use of your hand in a few days find a different Dr. because for the wrist they recommend several weeks. If you decide to go the surgical route go to a hand specialist and when they give you the medical form at the time of surgery to sign write down any stipulations and or agreements you made with the doctor before signing. Good Luck.

November 21, 2005, 12:25 PM
You could always revert to the old-fashioned non-surgical technique..... the Family Bible!.

Just lay your wrist on the kitchen table, cyst side up, and have someone smack it really hard with the bible; cyst goes "Pop!", and if you're lucky, it will completely resolve.

Of course, most times they just come back bigger, but you won't know 'til you try it.

Aspiration may work well at first, but don't be surprised if the cyst reappears.

Surgery is usually 100% effective,'s surgery; most often going under the knife, even for minor procedures, is the last option.
This works. I developed one years ago and when I went to see my Doc about it he instructed me to hold my arm straight out in front of me which I did. He reached into his drawer and pulled out a phone book, then raised it above his head and whacked the offending cyst sharply.
I remember yelling out in pain and shouting "***'re you doin'?"
He replied "Saving you about seven-hundred bucks".
It never came back.

November 21, 2005, 12:41 PM
My wife had one and had it operated on fairly recently, about a year ago.

She healed from the surgery quickly and regained use of that arm/hand/wrist quickly; however her hand/wrist was imobilized in a splint for almost two weeks as I recall.

Preliminary results are positive but it hasn't been that long.

PS: She was also told about "slam the phone book on it technique" but elected for the surgery instead.

November 21, 2005, 12:50 PM
"I remember yelling out in pain and shouting "***'re you doin'?"
He replied "Saving you about seven-hundred bucks".
It never came back."

I like your doctor, wish there were more like him :)

November 21, 2005, 01:36 PM
Wow, thanks for all the replies. I guess these things are pretty common. I'm seeing my doc tomorrow; kind of amazing that I could get in on a holiday week like this.

I actually tried the "whack it with a big book" technique a couple times, but no luck. I'm going to have it aspirated, most likely. Not sure if my family doc can do that or if he'll refer me to a specialist. Surgery will be an absolute last resort.

Funny that Moparmike mentioned his 10mm, because I've been shooting mine a lot lately (around 100 rounds a week for two months or so) and I think that may have played a role in my getting this cyst. I also found out that my mother was prone to them when she was in her teens and twenties, so I may have a genetic predisposition to develop them.

In the meantime, I'll keep my range sessions limited to left-handed shooting and try to baby that right hand.

Thanks again, all.

November 21, 2005, 01:49 PM
I like your doctor, wish there were more like him :)
Yup. He's old-school. Believe it or not, his name is Doctor Payne. No BS...

November 21, 2005, 01:49 PM
I've been plauged with them my whole life. Constantly. They eventually get ruptured, but then come back a few months later. I have them on both wrists, and usually have one at any given time somewhere. I bend my wrists as I write this, and the right one is currently big, and the left is minor. I get them between my wrist bones mostly, but I've gotten them on the top and bottom as well.

They hurt, but you get used to them I guess. (same as bad feet) :) The only thing they really hinder me from doing is push ups. Once I bend my wrists far enough back to put my hands flat on the ground, it just hurts too bad to do very many push ups.

November 21, 2005, 02:02 PM
I've developed a ganglion cyst in my right wrist, possibly caused by recoil from handgun shooting. It's basically a small fluid-filled sack that grows from a joint or tendon sheath. Mine is large enough that I can't shoot a handgun with any real level of recoil without experiencing a sharp jolt of pain in that wrist.

I used to get them all the time when I worked on the loading dock. The cure I used was to place my hand wrist-up in a large book and slam the cover shut on the sack. It seemed to work, but your idea of going to a doctor may be better :D

edit--looks like that's a well-established treatment

mons meg
November 21, 2005, 07:12 PM
Another vote for the Big Book treatment. When I first met my wife, about once a year I would have to go get the Complete Works of Shakespeare and whack her on the wrist. Out out, damned spot! :D

ken grant
November 21, 2005, 07:18 PM
I had one when I was about 20 yrs. old and my Doc used a large hardcover Med. book and wacked it with one blow.:what:
Now 67 yrs. and it never came back.:D

November 21, 2005, 08:01 PM
I'm a physician and I whacked my brother-in-laws cyst on his wedding day about 20 years ago. It has not returned. The trick to whacking with a book is a small hard book like "The Cat in the Hat" is perfect. Hold your wrist out slightly extended. The hacker needs to think follow through just like you would when hitting a tennis ball. It works. Sometimes it cures forever. It is cheap and does not hurt but a little. ;)

November 21, 2005, 09:43 PM
I had one on my right wrist for most of my teenage years. The docs drained it regularly (using giant needles to suck the fluid out) but it never went away. They eventually chopped it out.

As Correia pointed out, it made doing push-ups a real pain in the tuchus.

November 21, 2005, 10:02 PM
*quiver* Good God Almighty. Maybe I'm a powderpuff, but the whole concept of having someone smash my wrist with a book in order to _burst_ a _fluid filled sac_ in-freaking-side of me gives me a case of the jibblies so huge that nothing but a monsterous dose of muscle relaxers and Cold Ones could put the kibosh on.

Note: "Jibblies"(tm) from Strong Bad Emails, I don't take muscle relaxers, and my Cold Ones are Caffeine Free Diet Cokes (mmmm, Hypertension...)

November 22, 2005, 12:42 AM
I worked with a neurosurgeon from "the old school" who told me about the book method. I added my own twist by striking my arm/wrist on my headboard whilst performing callesthenics with my wife. ;) I never felt a thing, and the cyst has never returned.:D

November 22, 2005, 01:13 AM
My uncle had one in his ankle when he was a kid the doctor smacked it with a copy of Gray's Anatomy.
Turns out it was a tumor

Mom, the RN, told me about it when I smacked mine with a ball peen hammer after many years of pussyfooting around with it

Who would imagine that a broken wrist could hurt less than a little ole cyst.
The cyst has never come back but I only have less than 50% range of motion in that wrist now. It was worth the trade

November 22, 2005, 01:24 AM
It was on the inside of my left wrist. I went to the doctor who told me about the bible method and then proceeded to poke it with a big needle. Apparently there was no fluid to find as none came out. I basically ignored it after that and about 2 months later it just went away.

29 years later and it has never returned.

The strange thing about it was I am pretty sure I got the cyst from playing Asteroids and Space Invaders. The cyst was right where my left hand contacted the game machines right next to the fire button. I was pretty good at both games and firing rapidly was the technique that worked well. I laid of the games and I think that helped the cyst go away by itself.

"Doctor doctor, it hurts when I do this!?
"Don't do that"


November 22, 2005, 10:54 AM
had the same cyst type years ago on same wrist, never found the reason for it, but doctor dug the sucker out, deep , almost half way into my wrist, said u have to get ALL of the sack or it will return, after a few days in a sling and taking care of it, never had another problem! Just a word of advise, make damn sure he gets it all out dont just drain it or it WILL return as i've had a couple of others they did that to and they did come back

November 22, 2005, 06:03 PM
I have cysts all over my frame,including 2 quarter sized cysts on my spine which the surgeon wont remove yet because of the risks, the pain is there so I know how you feel and I have had a few removed and can say Im glad I did.

If you can, get it removed.Its really not painful to do and usually takes about 20-39 minutes in an office to do.the cyst will be sent off for study to see if it is cancerous which is by far the most painful thing to do..waiting.

November 23, 2005, 11:17 AM
Went to see my doc yesterday. He confirmed that it's a ganglion cyst and referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. Soonest I can get in? Exactly one month from now. Not sure what to do at this point. This thing is interfering with my typing and mousing, and I'm on a computer at least 10 hours a day.

I'm thinking about trying the book again.:uhoh:

November 23, 2005, 12:22 PM
If it is large enough, deep enough in the wrist, or close enough to sensitive structures like tendons, nerves, bone or blood vessels, that your primary care physician has referred you to an orthopedist, I advise against trying to whack it with a book. You might end up doing more damage to yourself.

November 23, 2005, 12:24 PM
Glad you're going to the Orthopedic surgeon to have it removed. Had mine excised from my left wrist (thumb side) 5 yr. ago - couldn't even pick up my toddler son it hurt so bad. :( I also had to wait nearly a month; Doc told me to take 3 ibuprofen 3x/day (9 total; more if it hurt REALLY bad) until the surgery. You may want to ask your doc if anti-inflammatory meds might help you until then, and if so, what dose. Best wishes!


November 23, 2005, 04:49 PM
After dealing with mine for a few years, painful enough that I had to wear a wrist brace for most of my senior year in high school, I finally had it surgically removed after an unsuccessful attempt at having it lanced with a gigantic needle.

That was about 8 years ago, and it has not come back yet, so I hope I'm in the home free. It took about six months before I finally got the full range of movement back into my wrist. I did not go to physical therapy.

The surgery was definitely worth it though.

November 23, 2005, 09:19 PM
I had one develop on the back of my left ring finger, from opening lineman's pliers repeatedly with that finger. Doc sent me to hand specialist and he cut it out while I watched him. He had to dig in pretty deeply and move some stuff out of the way, but he got it all. It actually hurt less than when they took the lead shotgun pellets out of the back/side of my neck. :D


November 24, 2005, 01:24 AM
I know from personal experience that you can get rid of the sac without surgery. Sometimes (not often) a chinese doctor knows more than western doctors.

All you need is to massage a couple acupressure points on your elbow. There's a little chinese-medicine explanations, but I just care that this works.

---find and massage this point---
follow the V of your bent elbow (either arm). to the outside (pinky side) of your arm is a depression at the bony part of your elbow. Massage the region between this depression and the V of your elbow. You'll know if you hit the right spot. It should feel sore when you massage it with your fingers.

You can massage this pressure point on either arm and it'll cause this wrist sac to be re-absorbed into your body.

You might also massage where your tendons attach to your bones near your elbow. If it feels sore, rub it. Just don't over kill your arm, okay? Think relaxation massage. A doctor will no doubt tell you that massaging your tennis elbow will worsen the problem _if_ you annoyed your muscles. Do not overkill.

pm me with any questions.

besides, this should work in a week. What's another week if you can avoid the big bucks and scar of a surgery?

Edited to add:
I just read through the thread. OMG, you guys are in pain and will try anything :eye pop:. my herbalist thinks of these wrist cysts as stoppages of chi. My martial-arts coach thinks of them as inflammations due to misuse. Either way, my chinese doctor who trained in martial arts and bone techniques advised me of the accupressure point that relieves the symptom.

my personal experience was thus: My right wrist grew a big peanut-sized bulb on the back of my hand where my index bone met my wrist. this was near the surface. It would feel real _sore_ if I use my wrist for weight, like bench-lifting or punching. It'd get painful after using the computer keyboard.

Then before I decided to schedule for surgery, I went to the chinese doctor who was my *mom*'s doctor. (I didn't want anything to do with superstition and folk remedies. I was so *scientific*. Little did I know how broad my brush was). So I followed the advice. The massage dispersed the sac completely, in under two weeksl. The pain went away in about a couple of days.

I don't care if "chi" is an accurate model of human physiology/anatomy. Or if accupressure points are "only placebo". As a scientist, all I care about is the observable, replicable result. And this stuff is replicable.

my cyst came and went for about a half year. each time a week's worth of massage sent it away. Then after that half year, the cyst never came back.

No surgery. No pain meds. Just that point in the crook of the elbow.

Mind you, this point can cover a lot of cysts on the wrist, even on the elbow (as in tennis elbow). And you don't need to rub near your tennis elbow. You can rub the pressure point on the opposite elbow. But if you have a persistent cyst despite the massage, PM me. I'll consult with the chinese doctor to find you another pressure point. I'm offering this with no strings attached as my homage to medicine buddha who, in stories, toiled to end all suffering. esp. the needless kind.

I just recently (3-months ago) advised another young person who had this cyst. She massaged as I described. Her cyst went away in a week. She was thrilled that she did not have to suffer a scar on her wrist.

November 24, 2005, 01:54 AM
I had one on my left wrist surgically removed 20 years ago, and then it reappeared 10 years later and had it removed again. If it doesn't come back pretty soon I guess I'll have to let the second surgeon claim victory!! In seriousness an Orthopedist should make the determination on your cyst as they are all a bit different and really depends a lot on whether it's between the wrist bones or outside them a sto whether the "Book Method" can be used safely or even effectively. Good luck to you and recover quick so you can get back to shooting.

November 24, 2005, 11:12 AM
In my late teen years I developed a cyst of some kind on my wrist. I believe it developed - or at least aggravated - when I slipped and fell on some ice. After evaluations, the doctor elected to slice it out. Well, he's a surgeon, all he knew was a knife. Plus I think he wanted to see it. :scrutiny:

Anyway, here I am years later. No perceptible degradation in the use of my left hand, nor has the cyst ever recurred. There is a nice scar on my left wrist, however.

In the last few years I've started noticing lipoma bumps, which are far more aggravating.

November 24, 2005, 06:37 PM
After breaking my arm badly enough when I was 12 that the cast stayed on for 6 weeks, I developed one on the back of my hand where the end of the cast lay.

Fortunately for me it never really hurt, as in that location there was nothing for it to press on. It went away by itself. It was neat though, watching it move under the skin when I flexed my fingers.

November 24, 2005, 11:29 PM
I've had them come and go several times over the years. The doc first said to "keep an eye on it". Someone told me about the book thing, I tried it and it worked.

Over time, they came back a couple times, but I just firmly, but not too hard, wacked it against the wall and they went away. It's been maybe 10 years or so since the last one.

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