Ganglion Cyst In Shoulder Symptoms: Causes And Treatment Options

Ganglion cysts are fluid mass that most often develop over the tendons and joints, usually the wrist and fingers. The cyst is just underneath the skin near a joint. Although the cyst develops commonly on the palmar side or dorsal of wrist joint, sometimes this tumor like lump can also grow over elbow, knee, hip, ankle and shoulder.

The cysts are typically round or oval filled with jelly like viscous fluid. The cyst can range in size and it can be as small as a pea or as large as a marble.

Ganglion cysts are painless and benign growths. Pain may occur when the nerve passing beneath the cyst gets compressed.

Ganglion cyst in shoulder is not common, but when present can produce discomforting pain and weakness in shoulder. The exact reason why a ganglion develops in shoulder is not known. Ganglion cysts can decrease or increase in size and sometimes they disappear completely. However, treatment is required if this non cancerous lump causes pain in shoulder or difficulty in movement.

Causes Of Ganglion Cyst In Shoulder

The exact cause of ganglion cysts in shoulder is not known.

However, it is believed to be caused due to trauma which may damage the tissues in the shoulder joint or the lining of the tendon. Actually it is like a balloon which grows out of the joint capsule or the tendon lining.

It has a stalk through which fluid enters in the lump. The fluid is sticky, jelly like colorless substance. This fluid is similar to the fluid that found in joints to keep it lubricated. Another theory put forward suggests a flaw in the joint space which allows the tissue to protrude out.

Certain factors increase the risk of ganglion cysts. These cysts commonly occur between 20 to 40 years of age. They are more common in women. People who are prone to do repetitive movement of shoulder are more susceptible to develop ganglion cysts in shoulder. It is because of the constant stress put on the shoulder joint.

Ganglion cysts are also common in people having osteoarthritis of shoulder. People who have shoulder injury in the past are likely to have ganglion cysts in shoulder.

Treatment For Ganglion Cyst In Shoulder

A ganglion cyst is diagnosed during physical examination if it is on the shoulder. However, if the cyst is inside the shoulder joint certain tests such as ultrasound, MRI, may be required for its diagnosis. Usually ganglion cysts do not require to be treated if they do not produce any symptoms. They often recede in the size and sometimes disappear.

However, ganglion cysts in shoulder may sometimes become large and compress the nerve which may give rise to pain and difficulty in movement. Pain relievers may be beneficial in alleviating shoulder pain. But this may be a temporary and soon the pain occurs once the medicines are stopped.

Besides, anti inflammatory medicines may also have side effects if they are taken for long time. In such cases surgical intervention may be necessary. The cyst is removed with arthroscopic procedure. After the operation rehabilitating exercises will help the shoulder to perform all movement.