Bone cysts

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I've had years of on going ankle problems. After seeing a doctor last week I was sent to see a foot and ankle surgon yesterday. He was dismissive at first. Physio and not much else. But sent me for a stress x ray just in case.

When he saw the results he was a different man. No arthritis but he could see 3 cysts in one of the bones in my ankle. Said there was a small chance it was where my bones overlap but really didn't think so.

I have to have an mri to see the size and scale. He thinks I damaged some cartilage when I repeated sprained my ankle. And that's how they happened.

It's either injections into the bone . Or drain then and fill them with something else. Or possible ankle fusion.

I'm in a walking boot to help with the pain of it. Said he can onlybtreat the symptoms now. So no physio to strengthen my ankle until I've had treatment.

But said they must be quite large to see clearly on the x ray .

I don't really know anything about them. Didn't thing cysts could even grow in bones. So I have idea of the implications of it. Or what the likely outcome will be.

Anyone shed some light on it ??

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi. Sorry your having ankle problems.

    Yep you can get cysts/lesions in the bones in your ankle. A lot of the time they are called osteochondral defects and are caused by damage to the bone/cartilage.

    I’ve had one that has started off small and after a fair few ops but just hasn’t healed. I’ve had arthroscopic washouts and then the same with micro fracturing.  This is where they drill into the bone to create bleeding/trauma to get the bone to bleed; then new bone hopefully, will grow. 

    These cysts, I have been told by my consultant can heal. Unfortunately mine was picked up alongside a missed fracture 10yrs to late for the above ops to be successful. 

    I finally gave up and said yes to a fusion last May and I still have ongoing issues with my ankle and need more surgery. 

    You can also have bone grafts to them as well, I did see a consultant about this but my ankle was bone on bone osteoarthritis and it would have taken to my bone. 

    Has your surgeon discuss this as an option yet? 

    Claire. Xx

    • Posted

      No he hasn't . But I only saw him in an emergency fracture clinic. He wants me to have the mri and then decide together. Which is nice. I've been 8 years with on of pain. Sometimes it's horrendous and lasts for weeks. Then it eases. But it's now always stiff . I'm a mum. And a horse owner. It's really hindered me allot. Both with day to day things like walking the kids to school. Running is impossible. So my fitness is rubbish again. And I can't get my feet in the right place to ride.

      Night is normally worse when it's playing up.

      I'm really sorry You've been through so much. It's amazing how debilitating it is sad


    • Posted

      Yeah my ‘ankle journey’ has been pretty full on, I got to the point where my inner ankle joint was bone on bone OA.  I am now waiting for my 8th op and there is still more surgeries to come after that too.

      It’s really good though that he isn’t just telling you what he wants to do but involving you in the decision too...this is something that surgeons are pretty bad at!  

      I will certainly keep my fingers crossed for you, let us all know how you are getting on.  Claire. Xx

  • Posted

    Dear Max

    I'm sorry to hear about your problems with cysts. I had a total ankle replacement five years ago and made a fantastic recovery. google Yogesh total ankle replacement to see me leapIng around at twenty weeks.

    At my four year check up my surgeon told me that I had osteolysis and there were significant bone cysts. He could not offer much except trying to fill the cysts.

    I very quickly realized after seeing my hospital notes and looking at the x rays and CT scans that my only hope of a long term solution was to find a really experienced ankle revision surgeon. I'm now two months into my second recovery having had the original prosthesis removed and a special revision prosthesis put back in its place . .

    It was a difficult six hour surgery made all the more difficult and needing a lot more work than would otherwise have been the case because my original prosthesis was very badly misplaced off the centre line!

    All the best, Richard

    • Posted

      Woah you've really been through it haven't you . He's not said what type of cyst it is. But there are 3 in a circular shape bunched up to each other.

      I've started to look into what options I have. And having the names of the procedures are very helpful as there isn't much information out there to non medics .

      I have a feeling my x-ray is being shown to every junior doctor on his watch as we speak he was that excited. ( tried not to show it.... but spent allot of time looking at it as he spoke to me)

      I'm lucky I've never broken anything . But a bit annoyed this has been caused by sprains . And the pain I've had after my most recent accident..... pulled my foot out of thick mud and hear a pop. Days and days of extreme burning and aching. Still no break . So I know I'm lucky. I guess I need to sort this before I do smash myself . I really hope things work out for you. Xxx

    • Posted

      Dear Max

      Thanks. The cysts that I have basically degrade the bone so that eventually it crumbles away. Obviously not good so make sure it is properly treated ASAP.

      Good luck. Richard

  • Posted


    Sorry to hear of your many years of ankle sprains, and now a problem with bone cysts.

    I strongly urge you to consider exhausting all conservative treatment options for cysts before consenting to go under the knife. Sure, sometimes surgery is warranted but be forewarned that it doesn't always solve your problems permanently. Read the stories on forum of ankle surgery patient who need yet more additional surgeries because the first one didn't take or made things worse.

    Sometimes bones cysts get better without intervention, and can even spontaneously disappear over time.

    As far as physiotherapy goes, I think it is the best chance you have of getting a fairly normal ankle back-- if your tendons, ligaments, cartilage, etc. are not too badly damaged. I think you need an ankle specialist armed with imaging diagnostics like ultrasound or MRI to get an accurate reading on your ankle's soft tissue disposition.

    Best wishes to you.

    • Posted

      Booked in for an mri. The doctor says that everything I've said corresponds with the cysts . He's pretty laid back and won't slice me unless needed. smile


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