top of page

TFC - Triangular Fibro-Cartilage Complex Injury

What is the TFC?

The Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex is a structure on the little finger side of the wrist which stabilises the forearm bones at the wrist and provides cushioning during weight-bearing.  Injury to the TFC typically results in pain on the little finger side of your wrist, particularly when rotating the forearm or turning the wrist towards the little finger.

What causes a TFC injury?

TFC injuries typically occur from a high impact trauma such as a fall, or sudden twisting of the wrist under load. Minor TFC injuries are often seen in conjunction with a wrist fracture and can be the  cause of ongoing wrist pain after the fracture has healed.

How do I know if my TFC is torn?

A TFC injury may be suspected if the following symptoms are present:

  • There has been a significant force applied through the wrist

  • There is persistent pain on the pinky side of the wrist, especially during gripping or rotating the palm up and down

  • There is pain when weight bearing on the hand such as doing a push-up

  • There is weakness of grip in the affected hand

  • There is swelling on the pinky side of the wrist

  • There is a clicking sensation or a feeling that the wrist is unstable or giving way

How is a TFC injury diagnosed?

A hand therapist or hand surgeon, will combine a history of the injury with a series of clinical tests to determine if the TFC has been injured. An MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Image indicating the location of pain due to TFCC injury
Custom made splint to rest and protect the TFCC after injury

Custom-made thermoplastic wrist splint/orthosis

How is a TFC injury treated?

Most TFC injuries can be treated with hand therapy. Our team of experienced hand therapists understands the complexity of these injuries and will provide you with the highest level of care. When you visit Bayside Hand Therapy for a TFC injury you can expect the following steps:

  1. Comprehensive Evaluation: Our hand therapists will conduct a thorough assessment. This may involve examining the wrist joint, assessing range of motion and strength and identifying any associated injuries

  2. Customised treatment plan: Based on your evaluation results, we will create a personalised treatment plan tailored to your needs.  This may include exercises, splinting  and modalities to reduce pain and inflammation

  3. Splinting: Acute TFC injuries usually require a period of resting in a custom-made wrist splint to immobilise the wrist and promote healing. Once your pain has settled your hand therapist will fit you with a smaller wrist support, which takes the strain off the TFC ligaments whilst allowing you to do more with your hand.

  4. Therapeutic exercises: Our hand therapists will guide you through specific exercises aimed at strengthening the wrist, improving stability and restoring range of motion.

  5. Education:  We believe in empowering our patients with knowledge: Our hand therapists will educate you on strategies for managing your symptoms and modifying activities to prevent further injury and promote recovery.

Don't let a TFC injury hinder your quality of life.  

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start on your road to recovery.
bottom of page