The triangular fibro cartilage complex (TFCC) is a small piece of cartilage and ligaments found on the medial (little finger) side of the wrist just past the end of the inside forearm bone (ulna). Cartilage acts as a cushioning in joints. Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that attach the bones to the cartilage. In some instances these ligaments and cartilages can become torn during a wrist injury.
Common causes of a Triangular fibro cartilage complex tear include:
• a fall onto an outstretched hand
• a direct blow to the little finger side of the wrist
• a violent twisting of the wrist
• swinging a bat or racquet
Symptoms of Triangular fibro cartilage complex tear
• pain and tenderness on the little finger side of the wrist
• clicking or catching with movement of the wrist
Diagnosis and treatment
Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose and treat this condition. In some cases if a complete tear has occurred surgery may be required followed by physiotherapy. In partial tears however physiotherapy is recommended.
Initial management of a TFCC tear would involve reducing pain and inflammation. This may include the use of electrotherapeutic modalities, ice, gentle soft tissue techniques, rest from activity and possibly the wearing of a protective splint, brace or tape. Once the initial inflammation has settled and time has been allowed for healing, treatment would move onto focus on progressively restoring full range of motion and strength of the wrist. Your physiotherapist would also be involved in guiding you in your return to sport and preventative measure to stop re-injury.