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What causes a large cyst on the wrist?

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Quick Answer

Most cysts on the wrist are ganglion cysts, which appear when connective tissue bulges out of the tendon sheath or joint capsule, causing a visible lump, notes OrthoInfo. The cause for this tissue bulge is unknown, though some doctors believe it to be caused by trauma to the joint or an internal weakening of the joint tissues, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

Ganglion cysts are benign cysts that appear most commonly on the back of the wrist. These cysts are filled with clear, viscous fluid that is comparable to the lubricating fluid surrounding the joints and tendons, according to Mayo Clinic. Ganglion cysts are generally painless, though if the cyst is very large or positioned in such a way that it presses on a nerve, it may cause minor pain or a tingling sensation.

This type of cyst does not necessarily require medical attention, though if the cyst has appeared recently, the patient may want to consult a doctor to confirm that it is a ganglion. If the cyst is painful or interferes with muscle function, a doctor may treat it by draining it with a needle, then injecting a steroid and splinting the wrist for the healing period, as detailed by WebMD. Some ganglion cysts disappear without any treatment.

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