Triangular cartilage of wrist

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is a small piece of cartilage and ligament that caps the end of the ulna in the wrist.

Cartilage ligament complex acts as a cushion between the ulna and the wrist bones. The ligaments/cartilage can be torn during a wrist injury. The TFCC is the major ligamentous stabilizer of the joint between the ulna and the small bones of the wrist on the small finger side.

Functions of the TFCC are as follows:

• Provides a continuous gliding surface bending and extending of the wrist

• Provides a mechanism for stable rotational movements of the wrist

• Cushions the forces transmitted through the 5th finger side of the wrist

• Connects the ulnar side of the wrist to the palm side of the wrist

TFCC injuries are usually caused by:

• a fall onto the outstretched hand

• a direct blow to the ulnar side of the wrist or hand

• swinging a bat or a racquet • a violent twist of the wrist at work or in sports.

Symptoms include:

• pain on the ulnar side of the wrist

• clicking sound or catching sensation when moving the wrist.

Among tests your physician may order are:

• x-rays

• an MRI

The treatment of TFCC injuries include:

• using protective support such as a splint or a cast

• putting ice on your wrist for 20 to 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a day

• taking anti-inflammatory medicines

• doing wrist rehabilitation exercises

• having an injection of cortisone

A complete tear may require arthroscopic surgery.

Smaller tears can be healed without surgery using ultrasound guided needle tenotomy with platelet-rich plasma (PRP). For more information about this procedure, go to: Arthritis Treatment Center

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