Added to my list of “weird things about my body that I might need to take care of soon” is: a Ganglion cyst.
Ugggh! At least it’s relatively harmless. Just odd-looking, that’s all.
Figured I’d share some info, in case others are experiencing a similar bump or growth on the wrist…
A ganglion cyst is a tumor or swelling on top of a joint or the covering of a tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone). It looks like a sac of liquid (cyst). Inside the cyst is a thick, sticky, clear, colorless, jellylike material. Depending on the size, cysts may feel firm or spongy. Source
A Bump On My Wrist
Six months ago someone said to me: “Oooh, what’s that bump on your wrist?!”
It was odd looking. Mostly just a sharp bony like part jutting out ever so slightly from the top of my wrist.
It wasn’t painful at all. In fact, I had never even noticed it until this person pointed it out to me.
Fast-forward 6 months, and the bump is no longer sharp in appearance — it’s rounder and sticks out a bit farther from the top of my wrist. It hadn’t bothered me one tiny bit until recently.
I’m on the computer a lot and I started to notice a few things:
- My wrist was starting to get stressed much earlier than usual when I used the computer.
- When my dog bumped it as we were playing, it started to ache.
- If I was wiping sweat from my brow and used that wrist — it ached a bit, and felt weird inside too.
- The cyst was also becoming noticeably “squishy” — as if it was filled with fluid.
Ganglions can be painless; however, they often are associated with tenderness and pain which may restrict the range of movements. Source
My Doctor’s Diagnosis: It’s A Ganglion Cyst
So I went in to see our family doctor about it. Right away, he diagnosed it as a Ganglion Cyst.
Sounded kind of scary to me, but he said it was nothing to worry about.
They call it the “Bible cyst” because in the old days they used to just slam a Bible down on the bump to make it go away. It really worked.
Turns out, a Ganglion Cyst is a relatively harmless tumor or growth or cyst that commonly appears for no reason on top of the wrist. Other places Ganglion Cysts are likely to appear: bottom of the wrist and the tip of a finger.
No one knows what triggers the formation of a ganglion. Women are more likely to be affected than men. Ganglia are common among gymnasts, who repeatedly apply stress to the wrist. Source
I’m guessing this is where the word “gangly” came from… something that’s just odd and hangs around for no apparent reason, yet is relatively harmless.
Is There A Treatment For Ganglion Cyst Bumps?
No treatment is necessary… really. My doctor said, most likely, I’ll be able to comfortably live with this on my wrist for the rest of my life.
However, if the cyst gets in the way of your normal activities and/or creates pain or tenderness around it then you might want to consider professional Ganglion Cyst treatment.
When I started exploring the options for having a wrist Ganglion Cyst surgically removed, I found this (hard-to-watch) video showing what it looks like to have an epidermal cyst removed from just under the skin.
I figured that Ganglion Cyst removal would probably be very similar, since what came out of that cyst is what mine feels like.
But that’s just one of the many types of lumps and bumps that exist just under the skin. In fact, a Ganglion Cyst is a little different and, therefore, requires slightly different treatment to remove it.
Here’s what it’s like to have a Ganglion Cyst drained:
Here’s what it’s like using acupuncture to remove a wrist Ganglion Cyst:
Here’s what it’s like to have a Ganglion Cyst surgically removed:
What About Smashing It With A Bible?
Yes, they call it a bible cyst, but I’m not sure how long-term the results would be after whacking a Ganglion Cyst with a bible. I haven’t actually done it myself. (UPDATE: Many have — just check out the Comments below!)
Another alternative, that some call traditional, others call a bit barbaric, is to smash the wrist ganglion cyst with a hard object such as a book. This pops the cyst, and ruptures the lining of the cyst. Because the lining is disrupted, the smashed ganglion cyst may not return quite as often as those drained by a needle. However, many patients are uncomfortable with their doctor ‘whacking’ a book against their wrist. Source
This video shows how to remove a Ganglion Cyst by smashing it with a book, like a Bible:
My Ganglion Cyst Update #1:
Well, I guess Jim must’ve smashed my wrist (just kidding) with a bible in the middle of the night or something — because my wrist Ganglion Cyst is gone! It’s completely flat now.
Remember… I’ve had this Ganglion Cyst (pictured in the photos above) for over 6 months now. And all of a sudden, I wake up one morning, and it’s gone!
I have to admit, I didn’t quite believe it when people said things like “it will probably just go away on it’s own” and “they come and they go,” But I’m here to say… it’s true. I love having a normal wrist for a change — one that doesn’t have that ugly big bump in the middle of it.
And I later learned from my mom that she’s got a Ganglion Cyst on her wrist that comes and goes too. (I think hers is gone more than not.) She says whenever it starts to appear, she just rubs on it a lot and it goes back down.
My Ganglion Cyst Update #2:
Here it is 2 years later, and my Ganglion Cyst is evident more than it’s not these days. It came and went several times on it’s own. I’ve never smashed it with a book, or had it surgically removed — yet.
It’s gotten to the point that my wrist aches more than it used to. Plus, to touch it feels weird from the inside. Not painful, just awkward and irritating. It’s really a nuisance, and I’m tired of dealing with it.
Though I’ve never purposely smashed it, I have accidentally bumped it (hard!) and it went away on its own at those times.
I don’t really feel compelled to have it drained or anything at this time. Still dealing with it…
It’s just in the way more than anything else.
My Ganglion Cyst Update #3:
Now it’s 10 years later. My Ganglion Cyst is gone more than it’s apparent on my wrist these days. That’s the way it’s been for the past 2 to 3 years now.
I never sought professional Ganglion Cyst treatment. And I never (purposely) smashed it to make it go away.
Still, it seems to stay away more than ever these days — only showing itself maybe once a year and only for a few days at a time.
Here’s one thing I never mentioned earlier about my Ganglion Cyst wrist…
Even when it’s not visible on my wrist, I can kind of “feel” it inside — especially when I’m sitting and I lean back on my arms (and therefore my wrists). The stretching motion makes it obvious where the Ganglion Cyst resides inside, because it “aches” and “feels tight” right there.
Other than that, still no pain from my Ganglion Cyst. And it’s hardly ever visible anymore. (Thank goodness!)
More About Ganglion Cysts
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you learn more about Ganglion Cyst treatment:
- What It’s Like To Have A Ganglion Cyst On Your Hand Or Wrist
- Everything You Need To Know About Ganglion Cysts
- Should You Really Smash Your Ganglion Cyst?
- What It’s Like To Have a Ganglion Cyst Surgically Removed
- Are All Bumps Ganglion Cysts?