Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Tears

Triangular fibrocartilage tears are degenerative or traumatic tears of one or more parts of the TFCC, which stabilize the ulna. While TFCC tears can cause pain and wrist instability, some people feel no symptoms.

What You Need to Know About Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tears

What is a TFCC Tear?

The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is a load-bearing structure of cartilage and fibrous tissue that supports the carpal (wrist) bones and stabilizes the forearm. The TFCC keeps the radius and ulna stable as the hand grasps an object or the forearm rotates. If the TFCC tears, you can experience chronic wrist pain.

A TFCC tear describes any injury to the soft tissue that makes up the TFCC. Acute TFCC injuries are often readily apparent due to pain and sudden limitation of movement in the affected wrist and forearm. A TFCC tear can be asymptomatic and only detectable through diagnostic imaging.

Finding relief for your TFCC tears starts with a visit to Resurgens Hand & Wrist Center. Schedule an appointment with Georgia's most trusted TFCC tear treatment experts now!

What Causes TFCC Tears?

TFCC tears may be acute or chronic. Acute TFCC tears may result from a fall on the hand or wrist, a twisting injury, or a fracture at the end of the radius. Athletes who use a bat, club, or racket, as well as gymnasts, are at a higher risk of a TFCC tear.

A chronic TFCC tear may result from normal wear associated with aging or an inflammatory condition such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

People with a congenital condition called ulnar variance, in which the ulna is longer than the radius (the bones that make up the forearm), may be at a higher risk of a TFCC injury.

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tear Symptoms

The most common symptom of a TFCC tear is wrist pain. Other symptoms may include:

  • Clicking or popping while turning the forearm or moving the wrist

  • Wrist weakness or instability

  • Swelling or tenderness of the wrist

  • Limited range of motion

How is a TFCC Tear Diagnosed?

A Resurgens physician will perform a series of physical examinations to determine if you have suffered a TFCC tear. These tests can briefly agitate your symptoms but are necessary for treatment.

Diagnostic imaging such as x-rays or MRI may also be used. Imaging allows your physician to view the inside of the wrist, check for fractures, and determine the extent of the injury. These tools will allow your Resurgens physician to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis and develop a customized treatment plan for you.

TFCC Treatment

After a thorough examination of your injury, your physician will recommend non-surgical or surgical intervention.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical TFCC tear treatment options are often successful interventions. Non-surgical options may include:

Surgical Treatment

If non-surgical treatments do not yield suitable results, your doctor may discuss surgical options for your TFCC tear. Surgical options may include:

  • Arthroscopic repair

  • Arthroscopic debridement

  • Ulnar shortening

If surgery is warranted, minimally invasive procedures are often sufficient to treat TFCC tears. Your Resurgens physician will discuss treatment options with you and design a TFCC tear treatment plan that best suits your unique injury.

Finding the best TFCC tear treatment starts with a visit to Resurgens Hand & Wrist Center. Schedule an appointment at one of our Atlanta area locations now!

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