Intentionally causing a ganglion cyst to rupture?

Is this recommended? Is it painful? WTH?

I have one of these; it’s fairly small, so we won’t be extracting it at this time. But my doctor told me that way back when, people were hit with Bibles until the cyst ruptured. And someone in chat the other day told me that her mother slammed her wrist into a shower wall. On purpose. What kind of damage, if any, could be caused by doing this?

Needless to say, I won’t be going that route.

I did this once on accident, to one on my inside wrist. Incredible pain for a minute, followed by a dull ache for an hour, then…everything was fine. I’ve heard others say, however, they’ve caused themselves enough pain to nearly pass out.

My doctor said it wasn’t harmful except in the case where people injured themselves with the hitting itself, which did happen (she had seen broken bones from people slamming parts of their bodies around) so it definitely was not recommended. Plus, they can return…

I also used to have one on my wrist. It popped up when I was in elementary school. The doctor said that there was no need to remove it, but I wanted it gone because I was tired of my classmates constantly teasing me about it. One day I simply decided to push it down. I didn’t use much force. Of course it would eventually pop back up, but then I would push it down again. Over time it got smaller, and finally it never came back at all. I don’t recall having any pain.

I had one on my wrist and got the advice about dropping a book on it. I tried it rather half-heartedly a few times with no results. One day I realized it was gone – I think I may have whacked it on something without realizing it, or maybe it just disappeared. It was there for several months.


Ganglion cysts communicate with the synovial space between the wrist bones. Therefore, aspirating it with a syringe usually won’t do anything because the fluid will leak back in from the synovial space or the tendon sheath (which regenerates the fluid). I have heard that sometimes you can aspirate then reinject antiinflamatories into the cyst to prevent fluid regeneration. One can have it surgically removed, but that leaves a scar. Bursting it (by smacking it with a Bible which is exactly the treatment I have heard recommended a thousand times) seems to be reasonable sure-fire way to get rid of them without a scar and without a visit to a doctor. Of course, smacking anything with a large book will hurt and has numerous risks associated. Of course, breaking a membrane and inducing tissue damage is going to hurt.

This is a really durable piece of folk medicine. It’s occasionally misunderstood, too, leading to a smattering of young Americans whacking their gangly young sisters with Bibles. This action seldom goes over well, and Moms never accept the reasoning. :dubious:

I had a small one on the inside of my finger, where my ring was, and my doctor actually referred to it as a “Bible-whacker.” Due to the location, I couldn’t smack mine, but it went away a few months after I stopped wearing the ring.

I had one the size os a pea at the base of my right index finger. It sat between a nerve and the tendon and was tender. It made driving and carrying things painful. The doctor burst it by injecting it with stuff, but it came back. Then he surgically removed it. For the removal, I just had a local and watched the surgery. The nurse at the office was horrified and seemed to think i should have some kind of “block” so I could not move my arm. The doctor said that was not needed as I could handle it, and he was right. It was neat and what a relief!

Interesting. My mother just had one of these things removed … they tried aspirating it, first, but it came back. Nasty sticky-out thing on one knuckle, about the size of a pea … despite fifty years of teaching Sunday School, Mother didn’t think of hitting it with a Bible.

Must admit, I’m relieved to find out the procedures for getting rid of them are relatively harmless …

I had a huge one on my wrist in my early teens. My doctor suggested benign neglect and told me the Bible stuff. Due to cosmetic concerns (it was very large) surgery was scheduled. A week or two before surgery I was using a rototiller in our garden. The next morning the cyst was gone. Rototillers and bibles are equally effecive IME.

I had a very good hand surgeon do my procedure. I was lucky and one of the best in the area was on my insurance. It is minor, but anytime you are slicing into extremities near nerves there are risks. I wanted the surgery because I was starting to get numbness in my finger tips and that was likely to get worse and become permanent if left untreated.

Bursting them is not that big of a dean because

  1. You don’t break the skin and risk introducing infection
  2. They are not full of blood vessels that will cause internal bleeding if you burst them.
  3. They are not full of anything dangerous that you would not want spread about, like infection or cancer.


Goes through the thread collecting all Bibles, and all other books of sufficient size and weight to be used to rupture a ganglion cyst.

Do not do this. You can injure yourself.
Donates collected literary works to the Salvation Army

I’m not afraid that the ruptured cyst will cause damage, I’m worried that the act of trying to rupture it will. What if you hit it so hard you break your wrist/finger/whatever? Seriously, no one should beat on themselves with anything, IMO.

Thanks for the responses, guys. :slight_smile:

I had one on my wrist as a teenager… I think I got it from a tennis injury or maybe the incompetent chiropracter who treated me for it. I then went to a real doctor, then a surgeon, and decided I’d rather not have the scars of open hand surgery, when the pain was bearable and these things can resolve themselves.

But when the surgeon mentioned Bible therapy, I decided to try it. I also used a large dictionary, along with a large leather-bound Bible, for good measure. I don’t know if it helped, but the lump did disappear in the next week or so. (The pain in my wrist, unrelated to the ganglion I imagine, lasted much longer). I have never broken a bone or had a cavity, so I didn’t worry at all about hitting my wrist. After all, people bump themselves accidentally all the time without major damage, and. Unless you have weak bones, I can’t see why you’d be hurt by a little Bible bashing.

Hey!! Gimme back my Tony Hillerman novel! I wasn’t done with that, and I don’t even have a ganglion cyst (nor a gangly young sister!)

Well, maybe not with a book, but I can’t imagine slamming parts of your body into a shower wall is very healthy. Besides, if we look at Una’s response, it’s not entirely unheard of.

Is the scarring really that awful?

The scar I have is very hard to see, but the reason to avoid surgery is that it has risks and unless the cyst is causing other injury like mine was, it is a risk with littl benefit. My doctor did ty bursting it by injecting it with a mixture of cotizone and anthsthesia, and it did burst, but came back.

The key to bible therapy, as I understand it, is that you use the flat of the book, not the edge. The violence is done mainly on the bump, not on the surrounding tissue. I have had what felt like another cycst on another finger and intentionally let something put a lot of pressure on that. It did go away.

It seems to be. I wanted to avoid posting about it, but my mother has had 5 surgeries to remove 3 different cysts (one they had to do 3 surgeries before it stayed gone), and the scars…well, it’s like the any surgical scar. No matter how small it is, it’s still quite visible unless you get some significant “plastic” surgery or some other topical treatment afterwards to reduce the visibility. She doesn’t like her scars at all, but the cysts were worse and hurting. The one that took 3 tries to remove got to be the size of a small kiwi fruit (it was on her back) and made it hard to sit in a chair.

My point about risk of breaking bones, in response to MaceMan, is people break bones in the damnest ways, and a broken wrist resulting from bashing a bible on it can be a life-altering event if it doesn’t heal quite right. I’ve known people who broke a foot by stubbing it into a table leg, broken a rib by bumping hard into a doorframe, and broken their finger catching a softball. IMHO it’s best to explore other, less violent options with a doctor.

I had a ganglion recur three times at the base of my left index finger. I popped the first accidentally while paddling. The second lasted six months before I went to see a doctor, who recommended surgery. The week before I was to go under the knife I popped it putting my hands down getting up from a chair.

When they popped, I had a strange, tingly feeling radiate up my arm as if I was being electrocuted.

The third was the worst-- it grew larger than the previous cysts, was causing shooting pains alternating with numbness from my finger to my elbow, and finally was surgically removed by a plastic surgeon. I’ve got a chevron scar at the base of my finger, but I haven’t had any problems since, and it’s been about 5 years.