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Women's Health

Painful lump on my wrist

04/29/2008

Question:

I have a golf ball sized, painful lump on my wrist. It is very painful and tender to the touch. It feels like it has liquid in side of it. it started out a small lump and it was flesh colored. What could it be?

Answer:

Without actually looking at the lump, the most common ones are “ganglion cysts.” These cysts normally occur in the wrist area and are due to a small leak in the sheath that covers a tendon – as a result, a jelly-like substance oozes out into the skin. These are often “benign” growths, but with the size you are describing, most often are best taken care of, either by inserting a needle into the area and drawing out the fluid, replacing it with a steroid to keep it from returning, or actually having it cut out. (note: in the olden days the large family Bible was used to smack it once to make it dissolve; we don’t recommend that method any more).

There are other causes, including abscesses. Considering the size and pain, I would recommend you have it looked at by your family physician so that he/she can provide treatment for you.

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University