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TOPIC: Ganglion cyst and lifting weights

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March 30, 2012 6:57 AM
I need some guidance please! About a month ago I was started a new program that included doing as many push-ups as I could in 4 minutes (20 seconds all out and then a 10 second break - called Tabatas). My program also includes some pretty heavy lifting (I've been lifting weights for over 2 years now). I started to develop a lot of pain in my right wrist and noticed a bump on the inside, kind of at the base of my thumb. I had to stop doing the tabatas, but stuck with most of my weights. My wrist was still bothering me, so I took over a week off. On Wednesday, all of a sudden the pain in my wrist hugely intensified to the point where I can hardly use that hand (and it's my right, which I use all the time). I went to the doctor and he told me I have a Ganglion cyst that has ruptured sad He said it will start to heal in 7 - 10 days, HOWEVER, it may continue to return. I've also read that some people who have these cysts can't ever do push ups or lift weights again. I was loving lifting weights and was finally starting to see some results. While many of these cysts aren't painful at all, I believe mine is on a nerve, so it hurts a lot. Does anyone have any experience with these nasty things? I'm so frustrated and the though of never being able to do strength training for my upper body really scares me!! Any help or advice would be much appreciated!! Sorry for the long post.
March 30, 2012 8:07 AM
I'm not sure if this will help, but Is the Dr. willing to go in and remove the remnants of it? Or, if it does return, to remove it then? I had a Ganglion cyst the size of a dime removed from the palm of my hand 16 years ago. It had been raised out of my skin, so anytime I bumped it, it was painful. The drs did a great job f removing it, but seeing the thing in the surgical tray was nasty. I have not had issues with it growing back, or wrist pain since.
March 30, 2012 8:13 AM
Thanks for the reply! Since this is the first time I've had it, I guess I will have to wait and see. If it comes back or continues to be painful, I will have to do something about it. I just really hope it doesn't continue to affect my weight lifting cry
March 30, 2012 8:18 AM
I have one at the base of my middle finger. Once it bursts, it takes forever to come back to the point it bothers me. I've gone years w/o it, then it comes back, annoys me for a bit, bursts, and all is well for a while. There is no telling when I'm going to get it, it doesn't seem to be brought on by anything in particular. I simply have learned to acknowledge what it is and ignore it. But I also have a very high pain threshold so don't typically let pain anywhere act as my signal. If it continues and causes problems, there are other things that can be done, but from my understanding, sometimes the "cure" is worse than the issue because of the fact they come and go.
March 30, 2012 8:31 AM
I had a giant one develop in my right wrist before I started weight lifting. It would pop and grow back and I hated it! I had it removed but it was so deep in the joint that it was a six month recovery process. Over a year later I still have problems with flexibility in the joint and I get random pains while doing things like overhead presses and benching, I almost wish I had left it alone. Before I had it removed wrapping the area helped relieve some of the pressure but constant movement would make mine worse. Good luck!
March 30, 2012 8:54 AM
I get ganglion cysts on the instep of my feet. I know, weird...They really only bother me when I tie my shoes really tight and get a little sore. The first one I had surgery to remove it on my left foot and then devloped one years later on my right. I went to a different orthopedic doc and he just aspsirated it. Hurt like hell for all of 5 secs and walked out with a bandaid rather than on crutches with stitches. The one on my left foot has redeveloped and I will have that one aspirated as well as soon as it starts to cause me issues.
March 30, 2012 10:15 AM
Yes, someone else suggested wrapping it, so I will give that a try. It's the weirdest thing ... I had never even HEARD of these before. Thanks everyone for your comments and advice.
March 30, 2012 10:26 AM
I have had surgery for these on both wrists. I don't have full range of motion in my wrists now and can't put much pressure on my hands, or support myself on them. I'm glad I had them done as they were painful, but there are some things I can't do now, like handstands and push-ups. I did used to find a splint or bandage helpful to reduce pain caused by movement. I can still lift weights but there may be some things I would struggle with, but just haven't tried yet.
March 30, 2012 10:30 AM
I had one that was removed surgically and they actually were able to sew up the tube of scar tissue that had formed allowing the fluid to build up from the joint. Since then, i haven't had it come back and no pain there. I use my wrist as though there was never anything wrong with it. They can also do something called aspiration, in which they pierce it with a needle and suck the goo out, then sometimes it doesn't come back and others you have to go in and get it done again. Its a quick fix that isn't a solution but a bandaid, but can be done...
March 30, 2012 10:33 AM
My sister and my father had ganglion cysts removed from their hands. I have heard of them rupturing and coming back, but I believe they can be removed even after a rupture. Neither of theirs have ever returned. I would get a second opinion maybe. Do a little more research so you know the right questions to ask. Good luck!
March 30, 2012 10:34 AM
I had that type of cyst on my left wrist in line with my thumb. I was told that I didn't require surgery unless the pain ever got to dreadful. Also, that often surgery wouldn't 100% remove it forever. They called it the "Bible cyst." Apparently, back in the day people would use a big big, often the bible, to smash the cyst. *shudder*
Well, I fell off my bike one day and landed on my left wrist and broke it. Since then (about 12 years ago) the cyst hasn't returned. Though, I must say, that wrist is a lot weaker than my right. I've never heard anyone who have been told of work out restrictions.
March 30, 2012 10:36 AM
I had a ganglion cyst in my left wrist for the past 6 months..on the top and was causing me pain. To help aleviate it I would wear a wrist brace to keep pressure and limit movement which helped..however the pain was still there, and would still come and go. Eventually (about 2 months ago) I had surgery to remove it, it took about a month to heal and the scar tissue to go away, but I am now 100% and I am lifting, doing push ups, burpee' will be fine!! Don't let you mind get the best of you!!

Good Luck;
March 30, 2012 10:37 AM
I had one that I had removed surgically, twice! Stubborn things! grumble It hasn't come back completely since the second removal, but it does still bother me off and on.
March 30, 2012 10:37 AM
I have a returning cyst as well at the base of my ring finger top of wrist. It popped as I was lifting as well two years ago and I all but dropped. It comes from leaking synovial fluid in your joints....ortho recommended surgery but I'm a chicken so I said no. It comes and goes (about the size of a grape) and although it doesn't look attractive it doesn't bother me. I wear a wrist support with metal in it when I lift (you can still bend palm and fingers) but I'm no longer supposed to perform push-ups w/o using a bar (no flat hands).

From the above posts, I'm glad I stayed away from surgery for now. Good luck and hope this helps.
March 30, 2012 10:39 AM
I had one earlier this month in my inner thigh that ruptured and I literally couldn't doctor is not allowing any physical activity until after my 3rd check-up for it on April I've been without exercise for a month. It sucks, a lot. And I'm nervous because there is a lump there again which showed up right after my 2nd checkup last week where I was told it was looking much better. I'm worried because even after things like sex (yep, the inner thigh is a REALLY bad spot for these!) put me in a lot of pain afterwards...all I can say is best of luck to you (and to myself, too)!
March 30, 2012 10:42 AM
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one going through this! From what I've read, most of these cysts tend to be on the back of the hand. Mine is palm side and I think on a nerve, which is causing the pain. I've heard a few people on here say push ups are now out, but I'm going to try to stay positive, as push ups are such a great upper body workout!!
March 30, 2012 10:43 AM
And I'm really sorry you are going through this Bittie ... what an AWFUL spot for one!!!
March 30, 2012 10:47 AM

And I'm really sorry you are going through this Bittie ... what an AWFUL spot for one!!!

It's a different type of cyst, but in the same family as the Ganglion cyst. I use my hands constantly in my work and in play (I do music on the side)...and I can't imagine how awful it would be to try and play a keyboard or guitar with one on the wrist!
March 30, 2012 10:51 AM
I have one in the exact same location as yours and some days it feels like it's pressing against a nerve and other days it doesn't bother me at all. Usually when it starts getting large enough to cause pain, I purposely find ways to pop it. I've never actually seen a doctor about it, but I've talked to a nurse who has had one herself and she said that even if you have it surgically removed a lot of times they come back, so she pops hers herself, too. I'm still able to do push ups, but sometimes my wrist really bothers me while doing them even when the cyst is very small. I've just learned to live with it. I'd never heard of a ganglion cyst either until I got one!
March 30, 2012 11:22 AM
Good point Bittie! And KyliAnn, how did you pop it? I've seen it done with a heavy book with the ones on the outside of the hand, but how did you do it on the inside of your wrist??
March 30, 2012 11:44 AM

Good point Bittie! And KyliAnn, how did you pop it? I've seen it done with a heavy book with the ones on the outside of the hand, but how did you do it on the inside of your wrist??

The best way I've found is to lift something heavy and put all of the weight of the object against the cyst until it bursts. The first time I popped mine, I wasn't even trying to. I was dumping a heavy trash can into a dumpster, using my hand with the cyst to support it, and it popped. It hurts, but it's worth the relief for the weeks or months afterwards until it comes back again. And, I'd like to reiterate that I've never spoken to an actual doctor about this, so you might ask your doctor what he thinks about just popping it yourself.
April 5, 2012 7:38 PM
They were known as bible bumps back in the day because people would hit them with a big heavy bible to burst them. I had one removed from my middle finger it and it has come back. I would have avoided surgery but it was causing a lot of pain affecting joint movement and causing other probs as a result. Its not as bad this time but still painful.
April 5, 2012 11:41 PM
I had ganglion cysts in both wrists about 12-13 years ago. I never had them surgically removed and they popped and healed on their own. Nowadays, I sometimes I get a bit of pain in my wrists while lifting I've never had any major problems or had them come back. Let everything heal fully and just pay attention to any pain you get while lifting and you should be okay in the long run.
May 9, 2012 4:30 PM
I have one on the back of my wrist, dead center. I play bass guitar and I work in a bakery, which makes it tender and sore.

I have to be careful doing certain yoga positions and push ups are out. I saw that someone suggested no "flat-palm" push ups. Has anyone had success using the raised bars that stand on the floor? Like these:

Are there any other upper body exercises ya'll would suggest that take the pressure of your wrists?
November 1, 2013 7:26 PM
I have one on the top of my left hand that is so hard the orthopedist couldn't tell by the x-ray if it really is a cyst or a bone spur he went as far as taping a BB on it during the second set of x rays. I decided to leave it alone, it took some time for my pointer finger ligament to stay to one side of it, now it doesn't bother me at all. I got another on my right wrist last winter I bumped it on the facet in the bathtub and it immediately showed up. My doctor told me to leave it alone. I did and it went away on its own. Well about 8 weeks ago we started to hit the gym hard and the one on the top of my left hand is twice the size its like a double bump and the one on my wrist is back and angry...its hurting pretty bad. I took the last week off but it hasn't helped. I wear wrist wrap gloves so it seems like I will be okay. One trick I have learned is to use a false grip when lifting like doing dumbbell curls and bench press. You don't wrap your thumb around the weight. You have to be careful and it might not work if you have small hands. But it seems to relieve my pain in my wrist. I was been lifting for about 20 yrs so I imagine that has contributed to both of them.


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