What causes a Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) injury, or ulnar sided wrist pain?

The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) consists of the triangular fibrocartilage disc, radioulnar ligaments and ulnocarpal ligaments. It stabilises the ulnar side of the wrist and distal radioulnar joint, and absorbs shock from any forces going through your wrist.  

What causes a TFCC injury or ulnar sided wrist pain?

TFCC injuries commonly occur from falls, twisting something under load or in a combination with wrist fractures. This leads to pain along the ulnar side of the wrist. It also a ‘wear and tear’ overuse injury, caused by repetitive lifting, use of power tools or twisting.  

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain along the ulnar side of the wrist
  • Pain or clicking with forearm rotation
  • Inability to push off your wrist
  • Weakness and instability when gripping onto heavy objects

How is ulnar sided wrist pain treated?

When structures of the TFCC are damaged, ligaments may be torn. Partial tears can be treated with thermoplastic splinting or wrist brace, strengthening muscles that support the ulnar side of the wrist and proprioceptive exercises. Full TFCC tears may require surgery. This would also include Hand Therapy treatment after surgery, including splinting, wound management, scar massage, AROM and strengthening.  

If you have any questions about a wrist injury and would like to book an appointment with one of our Hand Therapists, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.