If I Need Surgery For This I'm Not Going to be Happy
June 21, 2008 10:09 PM   Subscribe

What is going on with my wrist? Pictures inside, and most likely safe for work but I can't guarantee that since I don't know what's going on. And of course, YANAD and all that good stuff.

I'll start this off by saying that I know you're not my doctor, and that I'm making an appointment so there will be a real medical opinion. But I'd like to have some idea of why I'm going in. Also, I've looked at other wrist problem threads here but none seem to fit what I've got.

Earlier today I was trying to roll my wrist around and crack it, when I noticed that it didn't go like it normally does. So I looked down, and saw this nasty looking bump (continuing up the hand, it would be somewhere between the middle and index fingers). Said bump is not there when my wrist is straight(not the best angle to show that, but it's not). There's nothing on my other wrist that I've noticed.

Whatever the thing is, it feels hard enough to my untrained self to maybe be bone. At any rate, I'm pretty sure it's not some random bit of tissue or a ligament or anything soft like that.

Pushing down on the bump makes it feel like it's moving the slightest bit. But that could also be like when someone thinks a tooth is loose but it's really their jaw moving. It also brings out more bouts of pain.

Eyeballing my angles, it seems I can band the wrist backwards about 35-40 degrees before I feel pain which is definitely stemming from the area of that bump. I can bend the wrist forward as far as I could anyway and feel slight pain that way, but it's still there and still originating in the same place.

I've spent today trying to keep from putting pressure on it as much as possible in any direction. But every once in a while I would just be helping to clean the house and would move it in the wrong way. For example, I could feel it when putting some DVDs on a bookshelf. I know that might not be terribly useful since you can't know my arm angle and such, but I thought something might come out of sharing that.

None of this pain that I'm feeling is what I would consider unbearable at this point. But I know it's not supposed to be there, and I'd like to get it taken care of before it becomes something more serious.

There are a few more pictures over at Flickr if you want to see more. And I'll be happy to take any that you think will help to explain what is going on.
posted by theichibun to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You probably have a ganglion cyst. There is a way to remove them using a book, but you might not want to try it.
posted by sanka at 10:21 PM on June 21, 2008

It looks and sounds exactly like my mom's experience with a ganglion cyst.

I hope it's not that. It required surgery and put her arm out of commission for months...and it's starting to grow back. Good luck.
posted by phunniemee at 10:22 PM on June 21, 2008

As further information, I has a fairly large ganglion cyst on my ankle after tearing a few tendons. I needed surgery to repair the tendons, so they removed it, but the doctor was about 75% sure it would come back in a few years. It hasn't so far. From what I understand, surgery for a ganglion cyst isn't usually done since they do frequently recur.
posted by sanka at 10:28 PM on June 21, 2008

thirding the ganglion suggestion - i have one in my left wrist that only hurts when it feels like hurting. From the outside, I thought it looked and felt like some sort of weird bone growth. My doc said I could get it operated on if I wanted to, but I didn't really see the benefit.
posted by cholly at 10:44 PM on June 21, 2008

For what it's worth, my mom's grew until it started to adversely affect the use of her hand (and it hurt and looked freaky), which made the eventual surgery even that much more hardcore. It's taken...gee...maybe 15 years now for it to start to grow back? If it gets to the point where she'll need surgery again, it'll still be making better time than breast implants.
posted by phunniemee at 10:48 PM on June 21, 2008

Nthing ganglion cyst. My father, were he here, would look up at you grumpily and advise that you smack it with a book.

You'll probably want to discuss your options with someone with more medical training.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:52 PM on June 21, 2008

My sister-in-law had her ganglion cyst treated with a blunt whack with a medical dictionary by her doctor and it didn't come back.
posted by arruns at 10:52 PM on June 21, 2008

Yeah, you just might have a ganglion cyst. It's not only common, it's pretty innocuous. I mean, it won't make you ill, it won't spread to other parts of your body, and you certainly won't die from it. Treatment varies, according to your health plan, your doctor, and how much it hurts and restricts motion of the wrist.
posted by exphysicist345 at 10:55 PM on June 21, 2008

Yep, nthing ganglion cyst. The reason the "book treatment" worked is that it would burst the cyst, but it can grow back since the membrane containing the fluid is still there. Go see a doctor and he can give you all your options.
posted by bedhead at 11:52 PM on June 21, 2008

Assuming it is a ganglion cyst, my wife has one; she had surgery for it, which was painful at best, and it came back. Eventually we elected to go with the book smacking method, and after the second try (I missed the first time) it went away for well over a year (plus we got a great video out of it.) It just came back recently, and again on the second try (oops) it's gone again.
posted by davejay at 12:42 AM on June 22, 2008

I've had a ganglion cyst on my wrist three or four times in the last 20 years or so. One day, I look down and it's there. I forget about it, then a few months later, I look down and it's gone, not to be seen again for another few years. My advice would be to just ignore it and it will go away on it's own.
posted by platinum at 2:19 AM on June 22, 2008

I had one of these systs on my back shoulder once. I showed it to my physician who said it was an easy outpatient procedure to remove it, but advised me to wait to see if it would go away on its own. Sure enough, it did, and did not come back yet (3+ years). So there is another end of the spectrum from the "horrible surgery that did not help" stories above.

As you must already realize, you should go talk to a doctor. But until you do, don't freak out!
posted by blindcarboncopy at 6:33 AM on June 22, 2008

As the others said, ganglion cyst. I had one for several years on on the top of my hand near my wrist. Unlike what others said, I had it removed surgically and it was no big deal. My wrist hurt for a few days, and that was it. It's never come back (and it's been over 5 years now). I asked my doctor about banging it with a heavy book, and he did not recommend that, as it is more likely to come back and also doing so could break bones in my hand.
posted by Houstonian at 7:48 AM on June 22, 2008

I have one as well - had it drained once (with a syringe and some cortizone) but it came back pretty much immediately. Mine doesn't hurt or impair movement, so I just live with it. (It's been ten years, though, and it's still there, so yours may not spontaneously go away.)
posted by restless_nomad at 7:52 AM on June 22, 2008

My dad had one. Had surgery to remove it: it came back. Hit it with a book; it was gone for good.
posted by clh at 10:12 AM on June 22, 2008

i nth a ganglion cyst. i have one in the same place and as soon as I saw your pics i knew it was that. as have other people above, i've had mine drained with a syringe in the past, which sucked. never hit it with a book, but i did bang it into the wall really hard a few times in the past when it was extra painful, thinking i could equivalate the book thing. dunno if it worked, or what, but as I get older, it swells up less and causes less pain tho it's still there.
posted by Soulbee at 9:27 AM on June 30, 2008

« Older Playing with the numbers   |   Aftermarket lights for an old Forester Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.