How can a physical therapist help with TFCC tear treatment?
Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) tear is an injury to ligaments in the middle and outer side of the wrist. The TFCC ligaments keep the wrist joint stable. Sprained or torn TFCC ligaments can cause pain.
Your physical therapist will work with you to design a specific TFCC tear treatment program that will speed your recovery, including exercises and treatments that you can do at home. Physical therapy will help you return to your normal lifestyle and activities.
Your physical therapist will work with you to:
- Reduce pain and swelling. If repetitive activities have caused the TFCC tear, your physical therapist will help you understand how to avoid or modify the activities, to allow healing to begin. The physical therapist may use different types of TFCC tear treatment and technology to control and reduce your pain and swelling.
- Improve motion. Your physical therapist will choose specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in the wrist, hand, and arm.
- Improve flexibility. Your physical therapist will determine if any arm muscles are tight, start helping you to stretch them, and teach you how to stretch them.
- Improve strength. If your physical therapist finds any weak or injured arm, hand, or wrist muscles, your physical therapist will choose and teach you the correct exercises and equipment to steadily restore your strength and agility.
- Learn a home program. Your physical therapist will teach you strengthening and stretching exercises to perform at home. These exercises will be specific for your needs; if you do them as prescribed by your physical therapist, you can speed your recovery. If a TFCC wrist brace or splint is recommended for you to use on your wrist, your physical therapist will explain how often you should remove it, and any exercises to do when it is removed.
- Return to activities. Your physical therapist will discuss your activity goals with you and use them to set your work, sport, and home-life recovery goals. If you are an athlete, your physical therapist may coordinate care with your coach and/or athletic trainer. Your TFCC tear treatment program will help you reach your goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible.
- Speed recovery time. Your physical therapist is trained and experienced in choosing the best treatments and exercises to help you safely heal, return to your normal lifestyle, and reach your goals faster than you are likely to do on your own.
If Surgery Is Necessary
Surgical repair of the TFCC could be recommended. After surgery, you will follow a recovery program over several weeks or months, guided by your surgeon and your physical therapist.
When to use heat or ice when treating pain or injury
Whether to use heat or ice depends on the injury. In more persistent injuries like muscle spasms, heat is often the remedy. Applying heat to muscle spasms will help relax the spasm.
On an acute injury, like a sprain or fracture where swelling or inflammation is apparent, then ice is usually your first step within 24-36 hours of being injured.
Managing a dislocated wrist
Generally, for a mild case of dislocated wrist, the doctor is manages the injury with reduction. During the procedure, the doctor gently repositions the bones into their position. Furthermore, the procedure can be quite painful depending on the seriousness of the injury. You can relieve the pain with either local or general anesthesia before.
After the procedure, a splint or cast is worn to prevent the affected wrist from moving as it recuperates. In addition, wear a sling.
In severe cases, surgery is necessary to realign the wrist bones or fix any torn ligaments. This oftentimes involves the placement of screws or pins to secure the bone in place.
The difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
The two most common forms of arthritis—osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis—can cause similar aches and pains, but there are a few key differences between them.
- Onset. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage (tissue in your joints that cushions your bones) wears away. Pain occurs when bone rubs against bone. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an inflammatory condition in which your immune system attacks the tissues in your joints.
- Location. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can affect the hands. However, osteoarthritis often affects the joint closest to the tip of the finger, whereas rheumatoid arthritis usually spares this joint.
- Type of stiffness. Mild morning stiffness is common in osteoarthritis and often goes away after just a few minutes of activity. Sometimes people with osteoarthritis also notice the same type of stiffness during the day after resting the joint for an hour or so. In rheumatoid arthritis, however, morning stiffness doesn’t begin to improve for an hour or longer. Occasionally, prolonged joint stiffness in the morning is the first symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.
Hand pain and high blood pressure
Hand pain and high blood pressure are potentially serious conditions in themselves but they are especially serious when they occur together, according to the National Diabetes Clearinghouse and the American Heart Association. Determining what is causing your hand pain and/or high blood pressure is an important step, as sometimes these symptoms indicate a life-threatening situation.
When hand pain and high blood pressure occur together, it can mean a possible heart attack or limb damage related to uncontrolled diabetes. Both conditions can be fatal if not treated, so getting prompt medical attention is essential when these symptoms occur together.
Thank you for reading “TFCC Tear Treatment, Alleviating Pain with Heat and Cold, Managing a Dislocated Wrist and More”
For more information on TFCC tear recovery, see our related article.