What is a ganglion cyst in the palm at the base of the finger?

A ganglion cyst in the palm is a pocket of lubricating fluid from the underlying tendon sheath or tunnel. Another name for these is a volar retinacular cyst (figure). Ganglion cysts may feel unusual, but they are harmless.3,4,5

 ganglionb ack.jpg

Figure: a ganglion cyst.

Signs and symptoms

Ganglions can feel as hard as a bone.3 In most patients a ganglion does not cause pain, but sometimes causes decreased movement of the joint, pain and tenderness. If popped, the cyst may leak fluid. If it gets red, warm, and painful, it might be infected. This is uncommon.3


The diagnosis is usually clear on examination.