Are cortisone injections effective for Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (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 Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (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.