Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Thumb and the Synovial Cyst

Last month, a bump appeared on my thumb. I searched around on the internet and decided it must be a ganglion cyst. My primary care doctor thought it probably was that, too. He chuckled and said the old time method to remove it was to hit it with a heavy book. Hubby volunteered to whack it for me, but I declined his offer. (There are scores of videos of people on YouTube smashing ganglion cysts with books. I DO NOT recommend it.)

I went to a specialist yesterday who informed me it was a synovial cyst. He took X-rays and also diagnosed me with arthritis in my fingers, too. Well, my fingers have been very busy for a long time so I shouldn't have been surprised.

The specialist believes surgery to be the best option. However, he said I should think about it as long as it isn't bothering me and it isn't growing larger.

I don't like the idea of going through surgery. I also don't like the idea of not being able to get my thumb wet for two weeks, keeping my hand above my heart, etc.

Daughter #1 volunteered to cook supper but I suspect we would be eating hot dogs and beans for the duration.

I got brave this year and signed up to write 30,000 words next month with JeRoWriMo, NJRW's February writing challenge event. I don't want to miss out on that!

One of my friends suggested massaging the cyst everyday and I may do that because for now I've decided to wait. The cyst isn't that big and it's not bothering me. Having surgery would be a huge expense for such a small thing.


grace graupe-pillard said...

NO surgery!!! You know I have one too....see what doesn't interfere with your writing and activities.

Penelope Marzec said...


Yours is smaller. :^)

But I do want to wait for a while and see if it stays the same.

MarkD60 said...

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Penelope Marzec said...


No thanks! :^)

Christine Ashworth said...

I agree to the no surgery thing. As long as you can type with no problem, it's not getting any bigger, and it doesn't hurt, then why cut it out?

But still - sorry you're going through this!

Penelope Marzec said...


Thanks. At first, it was a bit scary, but I'm learning to accept it. I was never very vain about the look of my hands. I never could stand long fingernails and polish. I just hope it doesn't get any bigger.

Leann said...

I'm with you...if there is no pain, it is not medicaly necessary, if it does not bother you, then leave it alone :-)

Julie Merrin said...

I'm with the others...except for Mark, of course. (smile) If it isn't hurting, leave it alone. I have a rather stubborn case of rheumatoid arthritis which has tends to bring on rheumatoid nodules. I've had a number of these over the years. One on my elbow actually went away on its own. I did have one that appeared in the pad of my index finger removed because it WAS painful and DID interfere with things I had to do. One on the back of my neck was removed and only afterwards was identified as a rheumatoid nodule. Currently, I have one on my left pinkie finger, middle joint. It is a good deal larger than yours, and does look awful. (But then RA has messed up my hands so much that they'd look weird whether I had the nodule or not.) Since it doesn't hurt, and since it doesn't interfere at all with activity, I'm letting it go.

Sorry you are going through this. I truly do sympathize. Be glad you can keep tying. :)

Penelope Marzec said...


Yes, I am very glad I can still type. It is interesting that one of your nodules went away on its own. I read that happens sometimes. I would be delighted if this cyst vanished on its own, but it seems unlikely at this point since it is only about a month old.

Maybe I should hide it by wearing lovely white gloves like the ladies used to do in the old days. :^)

Louann Carroll said...

I had one and it went away on its own. Actually, I accidentally smashed it with a book and THEN it went away on its own. Not recommending treatment but...

Penelope Marzec said...


Just wondering how long it took to go away on its own after the the accidental smashing....


ShadowsFire said...

My thumb looks just like that now. But at first it was red and sore. Its interfering with my nail growth too, makes a ridge that is higher and lumpy. I go see the Rheumatologist on Monday to see what he thinks, but my GP thinks its a gangoin. I had one on my foot years back-it never hurt like this one is. My other thumb seems to be starting one just like it too. Isn't arthritis fun? NOT.

Penelope Marzec said...


I'm sorry you're having the problem with your nail growth. My cyst doesn't hurt--although my hand does have the achy arthritis pain now and then.

This getting old business has its special moments. :^(

Olivia :) said...

Hi, im 12 and new to all this commenting business. Anyway, I got a lump exactly like that one, I only realised last night though. It doesn't hurt but I would like it to go away. Are there any other ways to make it go away other than whacking it with an extremely heavy book?

Penelope Marzec said...


My synovial cyst did flatten out somewhat all on its own. Evidently, sometimes that will happen. One of my friends suggested massaging it--so I did that occasionally.

At any rate, I did not whack it with a book and I did not have surgery done to remove it.

I hope your lump goes away, but getting an x-ray is a good thing. I was glad I did that so I knew exactly what the problem was.

Rich said...

Have the exact same cyst on my thumb for the past 8 months. At first it did not hurt but I found it unsightly.

Have had is drained unsuccessfully two times and cannot stop rubbing it which leaves it a bit sore. Went to hand surgeon and surgery is set for Friday.

Will keep you informed.

Penelope Marzec said...


Good luck with the surgery.

I had inquired about draining the cyst and the surgeon told me it wouldn't help because it would come back.

Take care.

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Hi Penelope,

A few years later and I found your post. Thank you for sharing. A couple of months ago, the same kind of bump appeared on my thumb. How are you doing with it and might you have any new insights to share?

Much appreciated,


Penelope Marzec said...

HI Stephany,

The lump did flatten out a bit and now it appears to be no more unsightly than any other arthritic thumb. It rarely bothers me--only now and then. When it aches I put a heat pack on it.

I am glad I did not have the surgery, but I do recommend getting an x-Ray so you know for sure what kind of a bump it is. said...

Hi Penelope,

Thank you so much for responding to my post and providing this information to date. I am glad that it sounds less bothersome for you and I appreciate your recommendation.

All the best,


Unknown said...

I have one on my thumb also and it's not sore but getting large. Guess I should have it looked at.

Donna said...

I have one on my thumb also and it's not sore but getting large. Guess I should have it looked at.

Penelope Marzec said...


Yes, get a doctor to do an x-ray. It's good to know for sure what you're dealing with.

Good luck!