TFCC (Triangular Fibrocartilage Tear)

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TFCC (Triangular Fibrocartilage Tear)

 

INJURY OVERVIEW

The TFCC lies in the wrist.  If you turn your hand palm down its on the little finger side of the wrist.  Strictly speaking it lies between the ulnar and the smaller ‘carpal bones’ of the wrist.  Due to repetitive strains and trauma, it can be compromised and the cartilage involved can become torn.

 

INJURY IN-DEPTH INFORMATION

The whole structure consists of some fibrocartilage, and small meniscus (disc) structure, the main ulnar ligament, and the tendon of a specific muscle in the wrist called extensor carpi ulnaris (there wont be an exam at the end of this so don’t worry).

 

Trauma and indeed pain in this area is often seen in gymnastics, racquet sports, diving, and also any activities of repetitive compressive loading of this area.

 

Also, some people have an ulnar that is longer than the radius, which can place excessive pressure on the fibrocartilage and predispose it to wear and tear.

 

COMMON SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Pain and swelling on the back and ulnar side of the wrist

Pain on moving your hand towards your ulnar (show this)

Pain on wrist extension (show this)

Poor grip strength due to pain

Often a clicking is found on specific examination proceedures.

 

HOW IS IT ASSESSED

Specific subjective and objective clinical examination.

Sometimes a high quality MRI will find it.

Also a CT scan can be used but its findings are sometimes questionable compared to and arthroscosopy of the wrist.

 

 

 

GENERAL TREATMENT

Treatment is usually started with protective bracing.  This will stop the usually frequent and offending movements – thus letting any inflammation calm down and hopefully reducing pain.

 

Local physiotherapy strengthening exercises to the muscles on that side of the wrist will help stabilise the joint, the pain may need more immediate attention.

 

Depending on the level of pain, painkillers may be required and also surgical consultation to accurately assess the damage level and prognosis with or without surgical intervention.

 

 

WHICH HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO CONSULT

PHYSIO     X

MEDIC     X

PODIATRY     

 

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