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.