What is a Ganglion Cyst?

Written By: Dr. Evan Steinke, DC

Wrist pain is a common occurrence whether from computer use or a sporting injury. In some cases this can be caused by a ganglion cyst which may or may not appear as a visible bump or mass over the affected joint. While it is possible to form a ganglion cyst over most joints, approximately 90% are found on the wrist and are three times more common in women than men. Due to the nature of being fluid filled the cyst is often soft rather than hard and firm. You may also have noticed this mass but have no wrist pain, that is okay, it is not uncommon for ganglion cysts to be asymptomatic as well.

In a typical healthy joint you would expect there to be a capsule surrounding the joint that is then filled with a lubricating liquid that helps the joint move smoothly. Currently, it is thought that ganglion cysts are caused by repetitive and chronic trauma to the capsule around a joint that leads to deterioration and tears. Eventually a tear produces a pouch that is filled with joint fluid resulting in a cyst. Depending on the size of the pouch this may or may not be visible over the wrist. For this reason athletes with high wrist use, such as gymnasts, are prone to this condition.

Examination by your chiropractor can help evaluate and rule out other possible causes of wrist pain. It may be necessary to get imaging, such as xray, to rule out other severe causes of wrist pain.

Treatment of ganglion cysts will vary depending on symptoms. Even in cases where it is asymptomatic you should still have an evaluation to rule out other possible causes. The ganglion cyst may regress by itself, however, in the cases of wrist pain a conservative care approach can be offered. This may include modifying activities, adjusting ergonomics, splinting and more. It is not recommended to try and pop or drain the cyst yourself. 

In cases with pain, nerve symptoms or for cosmetic appearance you may be a candidate for an aspiration of the cyst. This is a minimally invasive technique where a needle is inserted and the excess fluid is drained. It should be noted that there is a chance of recurrence. In these cases surgery may be performed to remove the pouch which has a much lower chance of recurrence.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms be sure to book in at Active Sports Therapy, for a personal assessment and treatment plan. Dr. Evan Steinke, BSc. DC works at AST Westman

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

What is a Ganglion Cyst?

The Humble Yet Important Wrist.

By Sarah Kuindersma, M.A.T Muscle Activation Techniques, PTS,

Our hands are in high demand and often taken for granted. We type, we text, we lift, and grip throughout the day, without taking a moment to appreciate the humble wrist. This humble wrist makes most of our day-to-day activities possible. It is important that we make sure that our wrists and elbows have adequate strength and mobility, similar to other parts of our bodies such as knees and shoulders. Without this strength and mobility we are vulnerable to stiff wrists or worse nagging pain with simple activities.   

The wrist is an elaborate structure which allows for the broad range of movements it can perform. To avoid pain and recover quickly from a wrist injury, focus on developing strength in your wrists while maintaining excellent range of motion. How does one do this? 

This is where we are here to help, below are a few exercises that can help improve wrist mobility, release tension quickly, and build grip strength to keep your wrists healthy and pain free. 

Wrist Mobility Drills 

The following is an easy 5 minute routine you can do at your desk for your wrist.  

  1. Fist revs: visualize revving your motor bike. Have your elbows bent forearms parallel to the floor. Make a fist, and slowly pull the wrists up hold for a second before curling the wrists down. Perform 8-10 times  
  2. Fist extension to finger extension: start in the same position, with your fists closed, pull the fists up hold while you extend the fingers up to the ceiling, hold for a second make a fist and return the start. Perform 8-10 times  
  3. Wrist Flexion Pulls: Start in the same position, this time have your fingers straight, point your hand to the floor, from here curl your fingers into a fist. Use your opposite hand to gently pull. Hold for 2-3 seconds before releasing and repeating. Perform 4-5 reps/side  
  4. Hammer Curls: Start in the same position, this time turn your wrists made into fists to face each other. Slowly pull the thumbs towards you then push them away. Perform 4-5 reps. After you can then curl the fists in towards each other and then away. Perform 4-5 reps.  
  5. Open Palm Wrist Circles: hold onto one wrist, open your hand and start to make a full circle at the wrist. Perform 3-4 circles one way then rev direction and repeat.  
  6. Prayer hands: Place your hands in the praying position, then slowly lower the hands pressed into each other. Hold the stretch for 2-3 seconds repeat 4 times then repeat with the hands flipped in a rev pray. This time you are slowly raising the wrists up to feel a stretch.  
  7. Clench and release: squeeze your fist tight hold 2-3 seconds then shake the hands out. Repeat 4-5 times.

Watch these exercises for a visual reference:

Experiencing wrist pain ? Try these exercises - YouTube 

*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor or physiotherapist .  

Median Nerve Floss  

If you are experiencing numbness down the hand, it could be due to pressure on the median nerve, usually due to repetitive usage of the wrist. 

The following exercise is a nerve mobilization exercise to help decrease inflammation and pain by alleviating the pressure on the never. You can do this seated or standing.  

  1. Bring one arm up like you are going to flex your bicep. Relax the bicep and turn the palm of your hand towards your ear.  
  2. Imagine there is a string attached from your middle finger to the top of your ear. As you straighten your elbow your ear moves down to your shoulder.  
  3. To start keep your hand in line with your wrist, to advance this exercise you can pull your fingers and palm back like your spiderman about to shoot a web.  

Watch Median Nerve Floss : January 20, 2022 - YouTube

Relieving Wrist Pain with Muscle Activation Techniques  

Wanting to alleviate wrist pain in a different way? Have you tried M.A.T. Muscle Activation Techniques?

M.A.T. assess your movement mechanics to identify potential faulty movement mechanics leading to chronic strain creating the pain. M.A.T. then activates the muscles or rather creates a repatterning of movement patterns so your wrist can better handle the force applied to it through everyday movements and exercises.  

Call to book in with our in house M.A.T. Specialist Sarah Kuindersma today, at Active Sports Therapy 403-278-1405

Prefer to book online? Take advantage of our online booking system at www.activesportstherapy.ca.


Want to learn more about M. A. T. ? Watch this video   

The Humble Yet Important Wrist.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Treatments

By: Dr. Corey Finan BSc., DC, CCSP, RMT, ART

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition in which the patient feels pain, numbness, tingling and other symptoms that can be uncomfortable or painful in the hand and arm. It is caused by the compression of the nerve in the carpal tunnel, hence it’s name. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist. The issue is related to the median nerve which goes from your forearm and through the carpal tunnel passageway to your hand. It is responsible for sensation in your hands as well as muscle function. When this nerve is irritated, or the passageway is narrowed, then we feel the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Causes can range from arthritis and inflammation, workplace factors such as computer work and working with tools where repetitive motion is required. Obesity is a risk factor, and females tend to suffer from this condition more often than men.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will usually start off progressing in a gradual way. The most common symptoms include the following:

Tingling and Numbness – this could be in your hand or in your fingers and is often felt in the thumb, index, middle or ring fingers. The sensation may travel from the wrist and even into the arm. You may feel these sensations when the hands are outstretched doing something such as holding a newspaper or book, or a smart phone.

Weakness – You may feel like your hands are weaker than usual. This could be due to the numbness and the issues that are happening in the median nerve.

Preventative Measures:

Other Things to Consider: 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can occur in anyone, but there are some things that you may want to look at first before thinking you have CTS.  First, there is a much more common cause for numbness and pain in the hand / fingers, and that is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, which is a nerve entrapment in the elbow where the nerves enter the forearm.  Often repetitive strain at the hand and wrist can cause the muscles in the forearm and elbow to become tight, and thus compress the nerves to your hand.  Another important caveat would be to consider whether conservative care would be a better alternative for you, or if surgery may be the way to go. A trial of conservative care, specifically Active Release Therapy (ART), may prevent the need for surgery.  You can easily determine that by doing a Diagnostic Ultrasound of the Median Nerve at the Carpal Tunnel.  If the nerve is enlarged, you can be certain that it is inflamed at the tunnel.  This would indicate that the decompression surgery typical of CTS surgery would be of benefit to you.  However, if the nerve is of normal size, then you should not do the surgery, and seek conservative care and look elsewhere in the body for the problem.  These are simple guidelines that can help you determine which direction to go.  All of the Doctors at AST can order the Diagnostic Ultrasound imaging and can interpret the results and give guidance as needed.

Treatment From Our Clinic

If you think you may be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, our clinic has several treatments that might benefit you. Active Release Techniques for one can be very helpful to treat this syndrome. The practitioner will evaluate your mobility and tightness of the area which will usually be due to the presence of scar tissue. By using manual pressure, the practitioner can break up the scar tissue to lessen the pressure on the median nerve, resulting in a reduction in symptoms. Many people can find relief in just a few treatments!  There are several forearm muscle stretches and exercises that we can teach you to help remove some of the symptoms, and more importantly keep them at bay once you improve.  We also provide IMS which can help with pain relief in the forearm muscles, and Graston Technique which is an instrument assisted soft tissue treatment designed to help break down scar tissue and release tight muscles.  Shockwave Therapy and Laser Therapy can also be additional therapies that can speed recovery.  We have seen hundreds of cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome over the years with most resolving successfully in a relatively short period of time.

If you believe that you might be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, please give us call to book your appointment.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.