What is the Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC)?
If you are like most, you reached this site by searching Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) in your search engine. It is quite difficult, as a patient, to get a ton of information about the TFCC. The internet is full of conflicting information with very little consistency, and non-specific information. If you are like most, you have already visited your physician and are searching for more information.
The Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) was not identified in medicine until the 1980s. It is considered "the black box" and certainly deserves its name! What you need to understand is that the TFCC is the most important ligament for stability in the wrist. It is deep in the wrist. When injured, it sends pain to the pinky side of the wrist with rotation, grip and weight-bearing. It typically does not swell. It typically is injured in a fall, a twist or an accident. This is not always the case, as some present for no reason at all.
It hurts with use. It is not normally one of those injuries that "aches".
The first thing that your doc will do is an Xray to check for fractures. Then they evaluate your wrist for a TFCC tear. Then they will request an MRI. The challenge with the clinical exam and the MRI is that both have a high level of inaccuracy and interpretation reliability. This ligament is quite small! It is also loaded sensitive.
I have researched TFCC tears full time since 2006. I have established a great test to objectively evaluate the wrist. The weight-bearing test is simple, cheap and accurate. All you need is a non-digital scale. You can see the test at https://bit.ly/ww-wbt
If you have less then 20 lbs of weight bearing tolerance, you are unable to do anything. If you have 45 lbs, you are able to function with light tasks around the house. If you are over 65 lbs, you can load the wrist. Most adults have a normal weight-bearing tolerance of 65-120 lbs.
So- try the test, wrap your wrist with tape just like the WristWidget® (non-elastic- no compression to the ulna bone) and retest. If you see an immediate jump in weight-bearing tolerance then you know that your TFCC is involved. In a normal wrist without an injury, the WristWidget® will cause the weight-bearing to drop.
I am happy to meet you and hope that I can provide helpful information to the millions suffering from this disabling and significant injury. I encourage you to share your stories and help another on the Facebook closed group, "TFCC tears". Please send me your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From our family in Hawaii to yours.