What Are Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Tears?

The TFCC is located on the pinky side of the wrist. Because the TFCC performs the important functions of stabilizing, cushioning, and moving the wrist joint, a tear can be problematic. Typical symptoms include:
  • Wrist pain on the pinky side
  • Tenderness
  • Weakness
  • A clicking or crunching sound when moving the wrist
Common causes of TFCC tears are:
  • Falling on an outstretched hand
  • Racquet sports
  • Bat sports
  • Gymnastic movements that involve weight bearing on the hands
  • Degeneration with age
TFCC injuries are serious enough to warrant an appointment with an orthopedic hand specialist.

How Are TFCC Tears Treated?

Nonsurgical treatment measures are tried first and are usually effective. Common options include:
  1. A brace, splint, or cast.
  2. Hand therapy. Stretching and strengthening exercises.
  3. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Over-the-counter and prescription medications that decrease pain and inflammation.
  4. Corticosteroids.
Surgery may be performed when a TFCC tear does not respond to nonsurgical treatment or when a tear is large. An arthroscopic procedure is used to locate the tear, trim torn cartilage, and when possible, repair torn ligaments.