Bone cysts can occur at any time during a person's life. They sometimes occur in association with joint degeneration, bone hardening and cartilage loss. They can also occur after trauma to the bone or in arthritis patients. There are several different types of bone cysts and determining what kind you have requires medical examination and diagnostic testing.
Subchondral cysts are commonly found in osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis patients. They can also occur in patients with calcium pyrophosphate disease or in patients with trauma to the bone. These cysts are thought to be the cause of a vascular disturbance. The patients commonly report pain in the area of the cyst, but, the cysts are usually not able to be felt or seen by the naked eye. The cyst is usually revealed by performing x-rays of the site.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that a unicameral (simple) bone cyst consist of a cavity that is found within a bone. This cavity will usually be filled with a straw colored fluid. There is no know reason why these cysts occur but one theory is that it could be due to a growth defect. The cyst is non cancerous or benign and is usually found found in individuals younger than 20 years of age. The cyst normally occurs in one bone or in one location. The location may be in an upper arm, thigh bone, pelvis, heel or ankle. They can sometimes be painful and require treatment for this reason.
Epidermoid bone cysts are commonly found on the phalanges (the bones that form the fingers and toes) and the skull. Medcyclopaedia reports that these bone cysts are frequently well defined and seem to dwell in soft tissue. They can go unnoticed unless viewed as unsightly to the patient and are not normally painful. These cysts are usually benign but some cysts can have pus or liquid that will ooze out.
An aneurysmal bone cyst results from a cystic cavities that fill with blood. They can occur in any bone in the body but most commonly occur in the spine or long tubular bones such as in the lower extremities. These cysts usually result as a reaction to some type of bone trauma. The cyst tends to cause bone expansion which leads to gradual disintegration of the bone. An aneurysmal bone cyst affects women more than men. These cysts can be painful.
Intraosseous ganglion cysts primarily occur around carpal bones such as the toes or fingers. They normally occur in non pressure areas of a joint but are not usually part of the joint itself. The cyst will usually be singular in form, and, can sometimes be unsightly. It may look like a fatty deposit just under the skin but may actually have gas or a fluid inside the cyst. These cysts are not commonly cancerous in nature and can be easily removed if bothersome.