Are cortisone injections effective for TFCC tears?

While a cortisone injection will help with inflammation, it will not treat the injury. 

When a patient is presented with ulnar sided wrist pain, often one of the first treatments that is recommended is a cortisone injection. While helpful for some conditions - trigger finger, carpal tunnel, de Quervains, some ganglion cysts, a cortisone injection given to a patient with a TFCC tear is not the best course of action. 

There is little evidence that the TFCC has inflammatory cells nearby when injured. Swelling is rare.  

Cortisone injections contain a pain blocker called lidocaine.  A patient with a TFCC tear will feel better and will see improvement in their weight-bearing ability for 12-14 days post-injection.  After two weeks, their weight-bearing test results will plummet to levels lower than before the injection. 

Why is this?  During the 2-week period where the pain is masked, patients will often perform tasks that make the injury worse.  During this time, after a cortisone injection, it's important to protect your wrist. 

Please note, a cortisone injection can be really helpful for FCU tendonitis and ECU tendonitis - but ONLY if there is pain to the touch all day, and night. 

--Wendy