What is a Torn TFCC?

23 August 2017

Pain in your wrist can be a sign of a number of different conditions, but if this pain is accompanied by loss of wrist strength and a clicking noise when you move your wrist, you might have a torn TFCC. Here at Wrist Supports, our team have put together a guide to help you understand the condition properly.

What is a Torn TFCC?

The triangular fibrocartilage complex is a structure found between the end of your ulna bone closest to your wrist and the carpal bones. This structure helps stabilise your distal and ulna bones (i.e. the bones in your forearm) when you grasp objects or rotate your forearm. 

What are the Causes of a Torn TFCC?

There are two types of TFCC tears: traumatic and chronic tears. Traumatic tears occur when you sustain sudden trauma to your hand, such as if you were to fall awkwardly on the wrist. Everyone is at risk of getting this injury, though athletes are usually more at risk than others especially those who play contact or wrist-intensive sports. Chronic tears, on the other hand, occur when the cartilage wears down and are predominantly found in people over 50.

Signs and Symptoms of the Condition

When you get a TFCC tear, the most common symptom of the condition is pain. This pain typically flares up when you rotate or move your wrist or forearm. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling on the sides of your wrist
  • Weakness and loss of strength in the area
  • Clicking or grating sound when you move your wrist

How Do I Treat a TFCC Tear?

There are surgical and non-surgical treatment options available to help treat a TFCC tear. Which treatment your doctor chooses will depend on how far along the tear is and how it responds to different treatments. Non-surgical treatment is generally tried first. This is where the wrist is immobilised with a splint for around a month and anti-inflammatory medication is provided to help reduce swelling and pain. When you're ready, your doctor will show you hand exercises so you can strengthen your wrist.

Surgical treatment is usually only used if the tear is causing instability in your wrist joint. The most common surgical solution is an arthroscopic procedure where any damaged tissue is removed. This is usually enough to correct the tear, though other operative treatments might be used instead. When the operation is complete, you'll have to keep the wrist in a splint or cast to stabilise the area and get physical therapy to strengthen your hand and wrist when you're ready.

Torn TFCCs at Wrist Supports

We know how painful wrist conditions are, but the longer you leave a tear the more damage this will cause. Here at Wrist Supports, we've got a range of braces and splints to help you recover from a TFCC tear. Our supports will rest and stabilise the area to promote healing. Click the button below to view our full range of wrist supports for weakened and torn TFCC ligaments.


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