Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tears

Triangular Fibrocartilage ComplexBy Nancy Simpkins

Do you have a feeling of catching inside the wrist joint, pain on the ulnar side of the wrist (near the pinky), or a clicking sound when you move your wrist? If so, you may have a tear in your triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC).

The TFCC is a structure made up of ligaments and cartilage in the wrist. It enables the wrist to move in six different directions, and is sometimes referred to as the “wrist meniscus.” A fall onto an outstretched hand can cause injury to the TFCC.  Sports that involve gripping something, such as tennis and gymnastics, increase the risk of TFCC injury.  This type of injury becomes more likely after age 30, when degenerative changes in the TFCC begin.

After a TFCC injury, hand therapy can help stabilize the joint. Therapy may include splinting and grip exercises. Treatment for a torn TFCC may include surgery.