What is the TFCC?
The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is a group of ligament and cartilage structures inside the wrist. It plays an important role in normal wrist function. It’s commonly injured following a fall or fracture. This results in pain, especially during twisting movements.
I think I have injured my TFCC. What should I do?
The first step is an examination, probably followed by an MRI scan.
If I do have a TFCC injury, how is it treated?
TFCC problems are quite diverse in nature and therefore there are lots of options. The majority are treatable without surgery. A few people need keyhole surgery to either confirm or treat the problem and a very small minority need a bigger procedure for more serious injuries.
Scapholunate ligament injury
What is the scapholunate ligament?
An important ligament inside the wrist that maintains the position and movements of the scaphoid and lunate bones. It’s most commonly damaged during some kind of sports injury. Symptoms include pain, loss of grip strength, clicking and giving way. Long term problems can lead to arthritis.
How do you diagnose a scapholunate ligament injury?
Examination, x-rays, ultrasound, MRI and keyhole surgery can all be used.
If I have a scapholunate injury what happens next?
This depends on how badly the ligament has been damaged. Partial injuries to the ligament can often be treated without surgery – a splint and specialist physiotherapy can be sufficient. More significant injuries often need surgery in the form of repair or reconstruction.
Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury (Skier’s thumb)
What is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament?
This is an important ligament on the inside of the thumb. Skiers often injure this as they fall, hence the name skier’s thumb. If damaged, symptoms include pain and difficulty gripping with the thumb.
I think I have a skier’s thumb, what should I do?
The first step is an examination followed by either and ultrasound or MRI scan. X-rays can often be helpful too.
What next? How is it treated?
This depends on how badly it’s injured. Partial ligament tears or bad sprains can be treated without surgery. A splint or support is often enough followed by specialist physiotherapy. More significant injuries might need surgery.
Do I need surgery immediately?
No. If detected early enough, a torn ligament can be directly repaired within two weeks after injury.