Ligament Injuries Conditions Ligament Injuries TFCC Ligament Injuries


The triangular fibrocartilage complex is a complicated anatomical structure consisting of cartilage and ligaments that stabilize the two forearm bones, the radius and the ulna. It is the regulator of rotation in the forearm and creates a cushion between the ulna and the ulnar-sided carpal bones, the triquetrum and the lunate.

The TFCC is a unique structure, unlike any other structure in the body.   There is a specific continuation of the radius cartilage that flows into a disk supported by two hammock slings that create the stability of this joint. The stability of the TFCC is determined by the foveal attachment, which is a very strong attachment to the ulna. A cross-section of TFCC shows two limbs, called the dorsal radio-ulnar ligament and the volar radio-ulnar ligament, creating a triangle, hence the term triangular fibrocartilage complex.

A TFCC is a common sports injury; however, we also see it with trauma, like wrist fractures or any forceful twisting or rotation-type movements, that can cause an injury to this ligamentous structure. Sometimes, a TFCC injury can be more superficial and merely causes a fraying or a small tear in the disk part of the TFCC, which can be treated conservatively.

In TFCC injuries, where there is a tear of the foveal attachment of the TFCC, it results in instability. This means that the distal radio-ulnar joint is unstable, and the beautiful synchronous rotation is very painful with a limited range of motion, specifically in supination, when turning the palm up to the sky. Patients will always feel a sense of instability, especially if they use the wrist for heavy duties. Most of these injuries are complex and should usually be clinically evaluated, often in association with special radiological investigations like an MRI, which focuses on the soft tissues.


The treatment of TFCC injuries could initially be conservative, with extended splinting in a rotation-blocking splint. In cases where conservative treatment fails and instability continues, a surgical reconstruction of the foveal attachment is necessary. This surgery is usually combined with an arthroscopy, where the wrist is evaluated using a tiny camera that goes into the wrist joint. Depending on the findings of the arthroscopy, an open procedure might be done involving a reconstruction of the foveal detachment of the TFCC.


1How does a triangular fibrocartilage complex tear occur?
Typically, a tear can arise due to wear and tear or may develop as a result of an injury.
2What are the conservative treatment options for a TFCC injury?

Treatment options include the following:

  • Splinting
  • Physical therapy
  • Corticosteroids
  • Rest
  • Activity modification
3Does it take long for a TFCC injury like a tear to heal?
It could take up to twelve weeks, depending on the injury, patient factors and recommended treatment.

Please read the above text for more in-depth information to help answer these questions. It's important to consult with our qualified healthcare professionals to ensure the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan for your specific situation.

TFCC Central tear

TFCC Central tear