The human foot contains 26 connected with more than a hundred ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Ligaments are strong tissues that help to connect the bones, provide support and aid movement of the foot. The ligaments are covered with synovial membranes. The synovial membrane secretes a thick liquid known as the synovial fluid. The synovial fluid acts as lubricants between joints to prevent friction.
Bumps on the side of your foot are commonly known as Ganglion cysts, which arise from the fluid-filled areas on the ligaments or between the bones. The Ganglion cyst is a sac-like structure filled with fluid. The fluid can become thicker over time, causing the cyst to feel firm and spongy. A ganglion cyst is round or oval in shape. It can increase in size and appear on the side, top, or bottom bump on the side of the foot. Ganglion cyst can be painful or uncomfortable. It can interfere with your walking abilities.
The exact causes of ganglion cysts are not known. It can grow out of the joint or ligament. They tend to develop after too much stress or injury. They may also occur when the tissue that surrounds a joint or tendon comes out of position.
Factors that increase the risk of having ganglion cysts include:
Ganglion cysts commonly affect women more than men.
It commonly affects people who are between the ages of 20 and 40
Joint or tendon injury:
People that have had joint or tendon injuries are at higher risk of developing ganglion cysts
People with osteoarthritis are at higher risk of developing ganglion cysts
Signs and Symptoms
A ganglion cyst is round or oval in shape and appears as a lump underneath the skin. The size is about 2.5 centimeters. It commonly develops along the joints or ligaments. It is most common around the foot and ankle. It can be very small when it first appears and grows larger over time.
Ganglion cysts can be painless. However, it could become painful if the cyst rubs against or presses on a nerve. You may feel a tingling sensation, numbness, burning, or aching.
You may also find it uncomfortable or difficult to wear your shoes.
They may come and go or disappear on their own.
How do you treat a Bump on the side of the foot?
Ganglion cysts may come and go on their own without any treatment. If a ganglion cyst becomes painful and affects your walking abilities, it may require treatment.
Treatment options include home remedies and other conservative treatments
Home remedies treatments are self-care treatments which include:
Over-the-counter pain reliever
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can help relieve pain.
Wearing comfortable shoes
Wearing more comfortable shoes and modifying your shoes can help relieve the pain associated with ganglion cysts. Avoid wearing tight shoes that could burst or press against the cysts.
Other treatment options include:
This is a procedure whereby your doctor uses a needle to puncture the cyst so that the fluid can drain out from the cyst. You shouldn’t do this by yourself as it could cause infection.
Immobilizing the area where the cysts are formed with a brace or splint can help improve the condition. Mobility can lead to an increase in the size of the cyst. Immobility can lead to the gradual shrinking of the cyst which releases the pressure on the nerves, leading to the reduction of pain. However, you shouldn’t use the brace or splint for a long period of time. This could lead to weakened muscles.
This is the last option if other treatment options fail to improve your condition. Surgical procedure involves the removal of the cyst and the stalk that attaches the cyst to the joints or ligaments.
How long does it take for a ganglion cyst to go away?
Most ganglion cysts go away without treatment. Some ganglion cysts reappear after sometime even after being treated. It could take up to 12 to 18 months for a cyst to totally go away.