How a Ganglion Cyst Can Impact Your Golf Game

January 10, 2022
ganglion cyst

When it comes to your golf swing, your wrists play an important role. They can influence both the distance and direction of your shot. However, this means that your golf game will suffer if your wrist movement is impacted by injuries or other conditions, such as ganglion cyst.

A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled lump that is often located on the tendons or joints of your wrists, but these cysts can also be found on your hands or even on your ankles and feet. While they are not cancerous, ganglion cysts can be painful, especially if they press against a nerve, and they can impede joint movement.

These cysts grow out of a joint or the lining of a tendon and are often round or oval. They range in size, with larger ones measuring around an inch in diameter. The fluid that fills a ganglion cyst is described as “jellylike.”

The cause of a ganglion cyst is unknown, and treatment is often not needed. Your ganglion cyst may heal on its own. However, if a ganglion cyst causes pain or negatively impacts joint movement, you should see a medical provider, and they may recommend that you immobilize the area where the cyst is located. Activity may cause the cyst to get larger, while Immobilizing it may cause the cyst to shrink. A shrinking cyst may relieve any pain.  

If immobilizing the area does not solve the problem, ganglion cysts can be drained. They can also be surgically removed during an outpatient procedure, if needed.

“If you have a cyst - especially one that causes you pain, it’s best to see a doctor to determine if treatment is needed,” says Dr. Mark Lorenze, an orthopedic surgeon who serves as chair of Middlesex Health’s Surgery Department. “You don’t need to tough it out. There are treatments that can help.”

Golfers with ganglion cysts

Ganglion cysts are common in athletes who put repeated stress on their wrists. This includes golfers.

While having a ganglion cyst is not a serious, life-threatening condition, it could potentially force you to put down your clubs for a while so that you can focus on healing, impacting your golf season and overall progress. This was the case for several professional golfers over the years. 

Ian Poulter has dealt with ganglion cysts throughout his career, and ganglion cysts have also impacted Lydia Ko’s career. Mike Weir, a former Masters champion, had a cyst on his left wrist drained, and it forced him to miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational nearly a decade ago. In 2012, Gary Woodland had to withdraw after the third round of the Masters when his cyst ruptured! 

Risk factors

You may be more likely to get ganglion cysts if you:

  • Are a woman between the ages of 20 and 40
  • Have osteoarthritis, arthritis in the finger joints closest to their fingernails
  • Have had a joint or tendon injury 
How Middlesex can help

Middlesex Health’s orthopedic surgeons represent three private orthopedic practices, which have offices in Middlesex County and along the Connecticut shoreline. They treat a variety of orthopedic conditions, including ganglion cysts, and provide high quality, compassionate care and use the latest technology to ensure the best outcomes.  

If surgery is needed, surgeries are performed in state-of-the-art operating rooms at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown. These operating rooms are specifically designed to accommodate orthopedic surgeries. Some surgeries may also be performed at an outpatient surgical facility, also located in Middletown. 

For more information about orthopedic services at Middlesex Health, click here.

Featured Provider

Mark D. Lorenze, MD

Mark D. Lorenze, MD

Specialties / Areas of Care

  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Joint Replacement


  • Essex, CT
  • Madison, CT

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