Ankle cyst: causes, operations and treatments
Do you have an ankle cyst? Doctor Julien Lopez helps you understand its causes and reduce your pain.
Often located in the joints of your ankle, these cystic masses are mostly benign but can nevertheless become disabling. They can cause signs such as pain, inflammation or pressure on a nerve.
You can consult the orthopedic surgeon Julien Lopez in one of his 4 offices located in Nice, Cap d'Ail and Mandelieu. It will establish a diagnosis through imaging tests and a thorough examination to guide you towards treatments capable of reducing your genes.
A synovial ankle cyst is materialized by a small ball of a few millimeters to a few centimeters in diameter containing a liquid, rolling under your fingers when touched.
It contains a synovial fluid, a viscous liquid that acts as a lubricant in joints and tendons. Its elasticity allows good functioning as well as the good condition of the articular cartilages present in the body. Located in the knee, shoulder, wrist or foot and ankle, it is enclosed in joint capsules.
When the capsule is weakened, the synovial or synovial fluid can deform it and accumulate to form a cystic mass. There are also mucoid cysts of the ankle which are of different histological nature: the diagnosis is based on anatomopathological analysis.
Do you notice a synovial cyst in your ankle? The causes of this lesion are idiopathic or post-traumatic.
In most cases, this appearance is idiopathic, that is to say its origin is unknown. Nevertheless, it can happen when the joint capsules are altered as a result of a trauma to the ankle such as a fracture or ligament rupture near a joint. Thus, the affected synovial fluid is released and creates a cystic mass observable at the foot.
In addition, some people are more likely to develop cysts such as individuals suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatism or those subjected to repetitive orthopedic trauma such as high-performance athletes.
It is possible to observe synovial cysts increasing or decreasing in size and even disappearing altogether. Benign, these often visible and palpable cysts can still worry you and cause pain. When they cause inflammation, pain while walking or difficulty moving, it is necessary to consult a specialist.
The orthopedic surgeon Julien Lopez reassures you and explains the various treatments to reduce the genes generated by synovial cysts of the ankle:
- Discomfort when wearing shoes due to size of the cyst and its location
- Tingling or loss of sensitivity in the area where it is due to nerve compression
- Movement difficulties due to the large volume of the cyst
- Swelling from compression of a blood vessel
Doctor Julien Lopez will recommend additional examinations to assess the size of the cyst, its location and to look for possible compressions on neighborhood structures.
The doctor or specialist in sports pathology may recommend medical imaging tests such as:
- Foot and ankle ultrasound
- X-ray for osteoarthritis
- MRI for soft tissue analysis and localization
Following the results of further examinations, suitable treatment may be considered.
An arthro-synovial ankle cyst can be treated differently depending on the individual concerned.
In most cases, it disappears by itself or through a mild treatment. Some urgency may arise when pain worsens.
To overcome a cyst in the ankle, several treatments are available:
- Cystic puncture: drainage of synovial fluid with syringe under local anesthesia
- Cortisone injection after drainage: destruction of cyst fibers to prevent reformation
If none of these treatments is effective, a surgical operation should be discussed.
If even after several infiltrations, your synovial ankle cyst is painful, removal by a surgeon should be considered.
In order to determine the actions to be carried out, Doctor Julien Lopez uses a set of criteria to evaluate your medical history, possible allergies and any treatments you follow on a daily basis. After a consultation with an anesthesiologist, the synovial cyst ankle surgery can be performed.
Surgery of the synovial ankle cyst aims to remove the entire troublesome cystic mass. To do this, specific steps are followed:
- Cutaneous and subcutaneous incision of the tissues surrounding the cyst
- Precise dissection of the cyst to make it accessible
- Removal of the cystic mass with its envelope to avoid reformation of the latter
- Sent to laboratory for final analysis and diagnosis
- Possible release of a compressed nerve or blood vessel by the synovial cyst
- Closing of the tissues
Doctor Julien Lopez specializes in foot and ankle surgery. He performs this procedure in order to avoid recurrence (although this is the main complication) and the discomfort caused by the size of the cyst appearing on the lower limb.
The removal of your ankle cyst by operation is performed under local anesthesia, quickly and without postoperative immobilization (except to reduce pain). Along with advice on your recovery. It is recommended to follow the orthopedic surgeon’s guidelines to avoid recurrence of your synovial ankle cyst. Surgery involves removing this mass in order to eliminate discomfort, pain, friction and nerve issues which are the main symptoms.