TFCC Tears in Manhattan, NY

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About TFCC Tears

The triangular fibrocartilaginous complex (TFCC) is a major stabilizer of the lateral wrist, “pinkie side of the wrist”. The complex exists at the distal medial ulnar joint, which is the lateral aspect of the wrist connecting the radius to the carpal or wrist bones. It is composed of several soft tissues including the TFCC, the dorsal and volar medial ulnar ligaments, meniscus and ulnar collateral ligament as well as a sheet of the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon. The TFCC functions as a stabilizer, absorbing loads on the wrist. The TFCC also acts as a cushion between the end of the ulna and small bones (lunate and triquetrum) of the wrist. In patients whose ulna is longer than the radius at the wrist, the TFCC is usually thinner and more likely to tear. A TFCC tear can happen in two different locations and is usually caused by different problems. The first type of TFCC tear is due to natural wear, and the other is usually from injury. Tears due to wear are the most common and are usually not seen in younger people. They become more common as one gets older. Tears from injury can come from:

  • A fall on the hand or wrist
  • A twisting injury (like a drill bit catching, causing a twist of the arm)
  • A fracture at the end of the radius

Symptoms of TFCC Tears

Patients often complain of pain on the lateral and/or medial side of their wrist with tenderness and pain with motion. Sometimes there may be an associated click when rotating the forearm. The best way to image TFCC tears is with MRI. Symptoms may include:

  • clicking or popping while turning the forearm or moving the wrist from side to side
  • wrist pain
  • weakness
  • limited motion

Treatments for TFCC Tears

Treatments for TFCC tears generally start with conservative measures including physical therapy, bracing, and/or anti-inflammatory medications. If this does not help and patients still have persistent pain, another option may be platelet rich plasma (PRP) or bone marrow concentrate containing stem cells. Our regenerative medicine specialists at Ospina Medical specialize in Regenexx treatments that can help avoid surgery for TFCC tears. Using live ultrasound and x-ray imaging guidance, our providers are able to carefully inject these healing cells into the damaged areas to help improve pain, function and tears without the need for invasive surgery.

If you are interested to learn more about Regenexx and whether you qualify for treatment, please reach out to Ospina Medical, located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City to speak with one of our Regenexx providers today.


What does a TFCC tear feel like?

Typically, patients feel pain along the outside of their wrist, though some may feel it throughout their entire wrist. This pain may be present at all times or only when the patient moves their wrist or puts pressure on it.

What happens if a TFCC tear goes untreated?

First of all, your pain won't go away and even the most simple of tasks will become a challenge. The longer the tear is left untreated, the higher you risk persistent instability in your wrist.

Can a TFCC tear heal without surgery?

In many cases, yes. A TFCC tear can heal with a simple brace or splint, and in fact, the area outside the wrist often heals better this way. However, this does require some pain tolerance and patience as it could take some time for your wrist to return to normal. It's also important not to allow yourself to overuse your affected wrist during this time as it heals.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.