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Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tear

February 5, 2024

The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is located on the ulnar side of the wrist (pinky side). The main function of this complex involving ligamentous and cartilaginous structures is to provide stabilization of the ulnar aspect of the wrist. An injury to this structure most commonly occurs by a compressive load on the TFCC. For example, using a power drill and it binds and the wrist rotates instead of the drill bit. It can also occur with sports requiring significant grip strength such as tennis, hockey and golf. An injury to the TFCC will present as ulnar-sided wrist pain. There is commonly found to be weakness with grip strength. The pain usually worsens with activity and rotation of the wrist like turning a door knob or key. 


Conservative management for this condition will begin with rest and might be accompanied with a temporary splint for 4 weeks depending on the severity of the injury. A recommendation to decrease pain and inflammation would be to avoid aggravating activities and the use of ice in the early stages. The combination of manual therapy techniques and a tailored exercise programme to regain the strength deficits that were lost will be given by your physiotherapist.