If you feel pain in your wrist when gripping something tightly or pushing on your hand to get up from your chair you may have a triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injury or tear. TFCC problems can be caused by falling on an outstretched hand, from overuse or with age as the cartilage in your wrist wears down. An injury or tear to the TFCC can cause chronic wrist pain. Athletes, particularly gymnasts and baseball players who endure weight or force to their hands, are especially prone to TFCC injuries. Learn what is a TFCC wrist injury, the symptoms and treatment options.
What Is TFCC?
The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is a group of ligaments located on the side of your wrist -below the small finger. These ligaments cushion and support the small bones in your wrist and help to keep your forearm steady when you grasp something or turn it. Sometimes called a wrist sprain, TFCC can be painful and can cause loss of motion and chronic pain.
|Check out our video “How To Relieve TFCC Pain with the Wrist POP Splint” –|
Symptoms and Treatment of TFCC
The most common symptoms of a TFCC injury or tear are pain in your wrist on the pinky side, with a clicking or popping sound when moving your wrist or rotating your forearm. You may also experience swelling and tenderness in your wrist.
Applying ice and taking anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help with your pain and swelling. Resting your hand and wrist in a brace or splint is important for healing and can help prevent further injury. A splint that allows your fingers to move freely makes it easier to wear without having to remove it for everyday activities.
There are only a few splints designed specifically to address TFCC problems. The 3pp Carpal Lift Splint and the 3pp Wrist POP Splint help support your wrists and reduce pain and pressure. The straps on both splints lift and reposition your ligaments and wrist bones to aid in healing and reduce the clicking and popping felt when turning your hand or bending your wrist. They’re comfortable to be worn during activity and are recommended for healing for incomplete tears and when surgery is not needed or is delayed.
TFCC problems can be very persistent and rarely go away by themselves. An orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand and wrist problems can diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment plan.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.
27 comments on “What Can I Do About My Wrist Pain – TFCC Injury or Tear”
I think I have this: my job involves me stacking heavy tables (25 high) and chairs (12 high) and setting up and breaking down for events, normally around 400 chairs and 200 tables. I can feel my wrists hurting when I lift, and a couple of months ago we had to work really quickly, and my wrist is shot… it clicks when I rotate it (really loud) and it doesn’t seem to be healing. I’m worried about my job… I don’t know if the doctor will be able to do anything apart from say, “rest it” which means quit my job…. So I feel stuck here….!
Hello Peter, I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain in your wrists. Please know that while we can provide information on certain health conditions, we are not medical professionals and are unable to give medical advice. We suggest that you consult with your healthcare professional who can examine your wrists and give you a correct diagnosis and treatment recommendations. With that said, a brace can provide support for your wrists to lessen your pain and help prevent further injury. Please go to this page to learn more – https://www.ohmyarthritis.com/Learn/About-Health-Conditions/TFCC.html I hope you find relief soon.
Hi I’m 31 male , I was being foolish during feb and pushed a snow blower through some pretty large snow piles and was in a silly mood and decided to try and do a handstand on another night. Anyway I went to the gym one day, went to go bench and yea just this feeling of a ball in my left hand under my (hypothenar eminence). Not painful didn’t notice it was there but the discomfort made me sooo much weaker on the bench. Went for an mri and was told I had a degenerative tear of the tfcc…. so yea that’s been scary almost three weeeks now and while I like to think it’s getting better , now that I’m doing epsom salt soaking and splinting the joint. I can’t help but think .. is this going to be long term ? Do I have arthritis ? It’s just really scary. I can’t believe how sensitive I have to be as I age. Hope this resolves , only god knows but yea just posting.
I volunteer at an animal shelter and lifted a heavy trash bag. I heard a pop as my wrist plane broke towards the pinky. I didn’t think anything of it. The next day, I went to stretch, doing a downward dog (yoga pose where both hands are on the floor), and I could not put much weight on that hand. It has been 4 weeks, and sometimes I can put weight on it, and sometimes I cannot. And after I do, it will throb. It also throbs randomly (like first thing in the morning after getting out of bed – when it throbs it is swollen just below the wrist going towards the elbow). I have not been to a doctor, and suspect a tfcc injury as I am in my 50s and teach aerobics. What do you suggest?
I’m very sorry to hear that you injured your wrist. While it does sound like you may have incurred a TFCC injury, please know that as we can provide information on certain health conditions, we are not medical professionals. We recommend that you consult with your healthcare professional or a certified hand therapist who can examine your wrist and provide a correct diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Please visit http://www.htcc.org to find a certified hand therapist in your area.
Hi, not sure if i can still leave comments, here but anyway
ive had my wrist injury for over 5 years now as i got it when lifting heavy furniture when i was 16 and i havent experienced mch weight lifting exercises back then. anyway, my wrist is in a very bad shape when it comes to many exercises at the gym that i mostly when training arm must use rope handles instead of dumbells and barbells due to the discomfort and pain it feels (feels like it reaches further up the forerarm in the bones) when i first experienced this pain i didnt train for a year or so and not until 2 years later did i start going to gym, so i thought i had rested my wrist enough. the wrist pop splint or whatever its called in the second image does not help at all, and has begun to infuriate me to a high degree. Im guessing this is where im supposed to take it to the doctor i guess. just wondering if u had any extra information that would help me?
I am sorry to hear you are experiencing wrist pain. The 3pp Wrist POP Splint is designed to reduce pain from TFCC injuries and ulnar sided wrist pain. Wrist injuries that last a long time can be very difficult to treat and it could take some time to know just how much relief you will get from wearing a splint. We can’t say for certain what will work better and it may be that you will have to try a few different splints to find out what works best for you. If you still feel pain it is strongly recommended that you consult with a hand specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. I hope you find relief soon.
i have cracking wrists. My left used to hurt when i carry heavy things. Now it doesn’t however i can hear,feel the cracking in both my wrists when rotating it. all this happened after i did a session of yoga where my hands and feet are supporting my weight and my chest is facing towards the ceiling. is this normal?
Hi Megan, I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain in your wrist. Please know that while we can provide information on certain health conditions, we are not medical professionals and are unable to give medical advice. We suggest that you consult with your healthcare professional who can examine your wrist and give you a correct diagnosis and treatment recommendations. With that said, resting your hand in a wrist brace or splint can aid in healing and help prevent further injury. Please go to this page to learn more – https://www.ohmyarthritis.com/Learn/About-Health-Conditions/TFCC.html I hope you find relief soon.
One more thing I have swelling just below the thumb and just above the wrist. Sometimes the swelling goes up to the first finger. Yes, I have fallen on it in the past.
I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain in your thumb and wrist. Please know that while we can provide information on certain health conditions, we are not medical professionals and therefore are not able to diagnosis your thumb problem. It’s best to consult with your healthcare provider who can examine your thumb and hand and give you recommendations for treatment. We highly suggest that you don’t delay treatment as this could cause your problems to get worse, rather than better. Once you receive a diagnosis, we do have many splints and braces available that can help relieve pain from Thumb Arthritis, De Quervain’s, Trigger Thumb and more. I hope you find relief soon! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of further assistance.
I have the pain on the thumb side with a bit of popping what I can use for that?
I got myself diagnosed with tfcc after the weight bearing tests
My right wrist has been in pain for a year now and the left wrist is 3 months
I started tapping my wrists and they get pain free by tapping
I have ordered wrist widgets and hoping to recover with them
Is it necessary to wear a splint?
And how much time is it gonna take to completely recover and get back to gym
Hi Ali, I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain in your wrist. Please know that while we can provide information on certain health conditions, we are not health care professionals and are not able to give medical advice. You may want to consider speaking to your healthcare professional or a hand therapist about wearing a splint and your recovery time.
With that said, resting your hand in a wrist brace or splint can aid in healing and help prevent further injury. Please go to this page to learn more – https://www.ohmyarthritis.com/Learn/About-Health-Conditions/TFCC.html I hope you find relief soon.
I had a TFCC injury after heavy repetitive use of my hand. I could not turn my palm up horizontal without pain, or screwing a lid on a bottle and no hand strength. No swelling and no clicking in my wrist. Lifting myself up from a chair was impossible. I had a brace/splint for 7 weeks and tried not to use that hand much. The splint was vital in giving that area rest (day and night). Repair goes slowly but steady. Every day a little bit more movement. In 4 weeks I tried to stretch the wrist but always ending with more pain even in rest. So stretching was out. I did regular light movements but not stretching to keep it flexible. It is 11 weeks now and still gradually improving a little bit every day (removed splint after 7 weeks). I can turn my hand now and screw on lids with no issues but rotating the hand backwards and adding pressure is still painful. It feels like it is 80% there. Every day a small improvement in this backwards rotating with pressure. Just want to tell my story, because I searched on the internet of what to expect and the timings . I avoided hard work with this hand, it definitely sets you back in your recovery (in my case.) I expect another 4 weeks on top of the 11 weeks for a full recovery. I am female 53 years old.
Thank you for sharing your experience. We are glad to hear that you are on the road to a full recovery.
same is the case with me. i injured my wrist in the gym. since then, i used splint after 1 month it was 75% better. now replying after 12 weeks, its almost 90-95% there. can do daily chores. just that there is pain on full supination and its not 100%there plus i read many stories on the internet about people getting surgery and the injury taking a long time to heal that frightened me. hopefully i’ll be back inn the gym in a month considering my full recovery.
I’m 19 years old and have had unlar sided wrist pain for about 8 months now. It started hurting while I was rock climbing and slowly got worse and worse. I have gotten cortisone shots, done physical therapy and nothing seems to help. I wear splints at night and wrist widgets during the day. I even got mri’s on both wrists and the results showed nothing. I am constantly in pain, my wrists are constantly popping and I just want to return to my normal life.
Hi Josh, I am sorry to hear you are experiencing pain in your wrists. Please know that while we can provide information on certain health conditions, we are not medical professionals and are unable to give medical advice. We recommend that you consult with a certified hand therapist who can examine your wrists and provide alternative treatment recommendations and/or suggestions on other customized wrist braces that may provide additional support and comfort.
Good work. Great tips regarding wrist pain and describing important symptoms about wrist sprain. R
I’m hoping for some advice. I injured my wrist surfing about 6 weeks ago. I’m not sure if it was from impact on the board, or from a violent jerking motion while gripping the board through waves. It was pretty painful the first few days and there was some swelling around wrist and top of hand. I can’t put a lot of weight on it, have pain on the ulnar side, and occasional clicking. . I have small children so it gets little rest. Doc is “pretty confident” it’s just a sprain but offered MRI to be sure. Unfortunately, it’s almiost 500 bucks out if pocket so I’m on the fence about doing it. Maybe I should just get a cortisone shot and see how it goes? Thoughts?
Hi Marissa, I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain in your wrist. Please know that while we can provide information on certain health conditions, we are not health care professionals and are not able to give medical advice. You may want to consider speaking with a hand therapist in your area for a correct diagnosis and treatment.
With that said, it sounds like your pain may be due to TFCC. We do offer wrist braces designed specifically to help relieve pain from TFCC and ulnar sided wrist pain. Please go to this page to learn more – https://www.ohmyarthritis.com/Learn/About-Health-Conditions/TFCC.html I hope you find relief soon.
I have had pain in my right wrist for weeks now. This described it perfectly. Searching “why does my wrist hurt?” brought me here. I already have arthritis in my knees ugh. I better go get my wrist checked out properly. Thanks for this! Subscribed!
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I was running on Saturday at an athletics meeting. I fell and landed on my wrist. I did not feel anything at that time, but half an hour after the race , my wrist started paining. I did not go to the doctor as I thought it might go away by itself. However on Sunday morning my wrist was swollen and very painful. If I move it , it makes a popping sound. Do you think it would be advisable to go see a doctor? As I did not go yet.
Waiting to hear from you.
Definitely. Sounds like you did a little more than sprain it. Usually ligament injuries won’t hurt right away, will be swollen the next day and can be burised depending on the severity of the injury. You will have stiffness, pain and a popping sound.
Keep it elevated and iced. A good rule of thumb doctors use is if a suspected sprain still hurts after 7-10 days after injury, there is usually something else going on there.
Don’t wait too long on it as this type of injury gets worse with time and majority of the time is corrected with plastic surgery. Ligaments just don’t heal on their own.
You are also at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel with this type of injury! But again- this is only worst case scenario… and hopefully its just a sprain… our wrists and ankles make a popping sound if moved the right way… the “popping sound” injuries wrists feels almost like a muscle knot that pops.. you also hear it and can physically feel it borh internally and if you have your other hand on your wrist.
My advice is try not to “pop” it too much… it will make it worse.
Pain becomes worse over time and will not lessen.
Good luck and i hope it is only a sprain for you! Take care.