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TFCC (Cartilage Injury)

What is the TFCC?

  • One of the main stabilizers of the wrist is the triangular fibrocartilage complex, also known as the TFCC of the wrist. The TFCC is made up of the articular disc, meniscus homologue, and a plethora of ligaments that connect the carpal bones to the ulna bone

  • Due to the amount of components that make up the TFCC, it is challenging to diagnose the exact component that is impacted by injury in TFCC injuries

How do you get a TFCC injury?

  • This is predominantly seen in athletes who specialize in sports requiring repeated supination/pronation, ulnar/radial deviation, and axial loading of the forearm and wrist, including golf, football, tennis, etc. These repeated motions cause degenerative wear and tear on the TFCC.

  • Injuries to the TFCC can also occur due to a traumatic injury by falling on a pronated, outstretched hand causing an avulsion, rupture or subluxation injury

How do you know if you have a TFCC injury?

  • Most commonly, patients will experience decreased grip strength, feeling unstable at the wrist, pain along the ulnar (pinky side) aspect of the wrist during passive forearm rotation, as well as limited range of motion during pronation-supination.

How is TFCC injury diagnosed?

  • Your physician may utilize one of two options for classifying the damage to the TFCC. These two classification systems are Atzei and Palmer.

  • Your physician may order an x-ray, MRI or a diagnostic ultrasound to determine the extent of injury to the TFCC.

What are the treatments for TFCC injury?

  • Conservative treatment includes bracing, taping, activity modification, and ultrasound guided corticosteroid injections. If you are still experiencing pain after 4 weeks of immobilization or conservative care, surgical intervention should be considered (Pang).


  • Pang, E. Q., & Yao, J. (2017). Ulnar-sided wrist pain in the athlete (TFCC/DRUJ/ECU). Current reviews in musculoskeletal medicine, 10(1), 53–61.

  • Wu W-T, Chang K-V, Mezian K, Naňka O, Yang Y-C, Hsu Y-C, Hsu P-C, Özçakar L. Ulnar Wrist Pain Revisited: Ultrasound Diagnosis and Guided Injection for Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Injuries. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2019; 8(10):1540.