Persistent Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts in the Dorsal Foot

Akio Sakamoto*, Takeshi Okamoto, Shuichi Matsuda
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Shogoin, Kawahara-cho 54, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto606-8507, Japan

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© 2017 Sakamoto et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Shogoin, Kawahara-cho 54, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan, Tel: +81-75-751-3366, Fax: +81-75-751-8409; E-mail:



A ganglion is a common benign cystic lesion, containing gelatinous material. Ganglia are most commonly asymptomatic, except for a lump, but symptoms depend on the location. A dorsal foot ganglion is typically painful. On the dorsal foot, the dorsalis pedis artery and the medial branch of the deep peroneal nerve are located under the fascia.


Five female patients of average age 45.8 ± 20 years (range, 12 to 60 years) with a painful ganglion in the dorsal foot were analyzed.


Average lesion size was 2.94 ± 1.1 cm (range, 1.5 to 4.0 cm) and patients had experienced pain for a median of 2-3 years (range, 6 months to 3 years). Four patients had a single cystic lesion and 1 patient had developed multiple cystic lesions over the time that were associated with hypoesthesia. In 3 cases, symptomatic lesions were located deep beneath the fascia and were resected. In 2 cases, the depth of the non-resected lesions was shallow.


The cause of a painful dorsal foot ganglion can be attributed to its location in the thin subcutaneous tissue over the foot bone, in addition to its proximity to a nearby artery and nerve. Mild symptoms caused by a dorsal foot ganglion seem to be persistent, and the deeper the location, the more likely is the need for resection. To avoid nerve injury, anatomical knowledge is prerequisite to any puncturing procedure or operation performed.

Keywords: Ganglion, Cyst, Pain, Artery, Nerve, Foot.