The wrist and hand is made up of 27 bones with, understandably, a LOT of joints between them and even more attaching them to the arm bones. It is this incredible number of bones and joints that allows us so much movement and dexterity in our hands and wrists and differentiates us from our primate ancestors!
It is also this degree of flexibility that can result in injury of the wrist with repetitive and extreme movements through a number of these joints.
I have recently had a lot of people come in to see me about pain and occasional clicking or locking in the medial side (little finger side) of their wrist. There can be several causes of medial wrist pain, however one that stands out and requires a lot of attention involves injury to the TFCC or Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex.
The TFCC is a region on the medial side of your wrist and is made up of several ligaments, a tendon and an articular cartilage disc. It provides stability in the joints between the carpal bones of the wrist and the ulna and radius (the bones in your forearm). The TFCC allows increased flexibility in this area, provides a smooth gliding movement through the joint and has a cushioning effect, reducing impact through the joints of the wrist.
Injury to the TFCC can cause symptoms of significant pain, clicking and weakness in the wrist. A common cause of TFCC injury is falling onto the hand with the wrist extended back or any sudden impact through the hand, forcing the wrist into a hyperextended position, such a reaching to stop a flying soccer ball from entering the goal. A less common cause is a power-drill injury in which the drill rotates the wrist instead of the bit!
TFCC tears and injuries can take a long time to heal and are often not given due attention straight away. Many TFCC injuries can be managed with a stabilising brace, however on occasion steroid injection may reduce symptoms or reparative surgery may be required if the injury is too severe.
If you suspect that you may have an injury of the TFCC make sure you see your Physiotherapist as soon as possible.