A triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) tear is a degenerative or traumatic tear in the TFCC, which stabilizes and cushions the wrist. In a TFCC tear, the wrist may feel weaker and less stable. Older adults are most commonly impacted because the tissue that makes up the TFCC thins with age.


Degeneration is one of the most common causes of TFCC tears. Overuse of the wrist and performing repetitive activities can also tear tissue. Traumatic tears from falling on a wrist or from athletic activities like swinging a tennis racket or golf club are also common.


In most cases, pain from a TFCC tear will occur on the outside of the wrist. Clicking or popping during movement may occur. Weakness and difficulty gripping objects is also common.


Physicians will perform a thorough exam to assess range of motion and strength. X-rays and MRIs may also be used to identify fractures or tears.


Treatment for mild TFCC tears often include rest, icing, and anti-inflammatory medications. Bracing may also be used to keep the forearm and wrist stable. In some cases, cortisone injections are used to help reduce swelling. In severe cases with persistent pain, surgery may be required.

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