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Triangular fibrocartilage complex or TFCC is a cartilage structure located on the small finger side of the wrist that cushions and supports the small carpal bones in the wrist.


An injury or tear of the TFCC can causes chronic wrist pain.



The main symptoms of a TFCC are pain on the outer aspect of wrist. The pain may be constant or only appears when you move your wrist or apply pressure on it.


The other symptoms of a TFCC tear include


  • A clicking or popping sound when you move your wrist
  • Swelling
  • Instability
  • Weakness
  • Tenderness




There are two types of TFCC tears depending on the cause


Type I – These tears are caused by an injury. For example after a fall or landing on an outstretched hand can damage the cartilages, tendons or ligaments in TFCC.


Type II – These are degenerative tears by slow break down of the cartilage in the TFCC usually due to age or an underlying condition such as RA or gout.


Athletes who regularly rotate or put pressure on their wrist, such tennis players or gymnast have a higher risk of developing a TFCC tear.




Clinical history by the patient and the clinical examination by the doctor will help to diagnose the problem.




MRI is the investigation of choice to rule out TFCC tear.






Stop doing any activities that causes wrist pain while tear heals


  • Wrist splint or cast
  • Physiotherapy for 6 weeks.




Surgery to treat a TFCC tear often involves minimally invasive arthroscopy surgery. Following surgery you will need to wear a cast to keep your wrist from moving. Once the cast is removed, you may start the physiotherapy to gain strength & movement.