Feeling pain on the pinky side of your wrist? You might have a TFCC wrist injury
The TFCC is situated on the outside of the wrist near the pinky finger. The role this ligament plays is to stabilize the ends of the distal radius and ulna when the hand is gripping, or the forearm rotates. For example, it is the TFCC that is at work when you carry a gallon of milk to the refrigerator. The TFCC enables you to use a can opener and brush your hair. The triangular fibrocartilage complex is only about the size of a dime, but it packs a punch if injured. If you suffer from TFCC wrist injury, chronic pain may result.
How is the TFCC injured?
The TFCC may suffer an acute or chronic injury. A common cause of TFCC wrist injury is falling on an outstretched hand. Conversely, the ligament may tear as a result of frequent use that requires forearm rotation. A chronic tear is a gradual injury that involves degeneration of the fibrous structure over time. In some instances, the TFCC ligament gets pinched due to the excessive length of the ulna bone, ultimately resulting in a hole being worn through the ligament. Finally, a degenerative tear may coincide with chronic an inflammatory disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Many cases of wrist pain can be attributed to a torn TFCC ligament (read our TFCC Tear recovery article here). If pain occurs in the outside area of the wrist when gripping or rotating action is performed, treatment may be needed to allow the ligament to repair itself.
Treating the TFCC wrist injury
When possible, conservative treatment is prescribed for TFCC tears. This includes:
- This includes short-term activity modification
- use of anti-inflammatory medication
- splinting to immobilize the wrist
In some instances, though, surgery may be necessary for optimal repair. The technique used to repair TFCC wrist injury is determined by the exact location of the tear. A comprehensive consultation is performed to identify relevant factors guiding the surgical procedure.
After TFCC surgery, motion and strength typically return right away. However, a wrist brace or splint is usually worn for up to six weeks postoperatively. After this time, strength exercises may begin.
Common types of Distal Radius Fractures
There are several different kinds of distal radius fractures. Dr. Nabil Ebraheim explains the common types and how they occur.
- The most common type, the Colles Fracture occurs at the distal radius, and the wrist has a characteristic backwards displacement of the hand. This injury typically occurs in patients more than 50 years old from attempting to break a fall with an outstretched hand.
- Smith Fracture is an extra-articular transverse fracture that is palmarly displaced and can be thought of as a reverse Colles fracture. This fracture occurs at the distal radius with a forward displacement of the distal fragment and typically occurs due to a fall onto a flexed wrist.
- Die-Punch Fracture is a depressed fracture of the lunate fossa that results from axial loading forces on the distal radius that is transmitted through the lunate bone. These fractures are intra-articular fractures of the lunate fossa of the distal radius.
- Barton Fracture is an intra-articular fracture of the distal radius with a dislocation of the radiocarpal joint. This fracture is caused by a fall on an extended and pronated wrist with the volar type being the most common type.
- Chauffer’s fracture is a fracture of the radial styloid process in association with scapholunate dissociation.
How long is the healing time for a wrist sprain?
Wrist sprain is quite common among athletes, but it may happen to non-athletes as well, especially after a fall. The pain associated with this condition is not confined to the wrist area only, but often gets radiated to the hand and forearm as well. Thus, the movements of the joint get affected. It tends to weaken the hand so much that simple activities like gripping an object becomes a tough task. People suffering from this kind of injury are always worried about the healing time, mainly because they want to get rid of the discomfort as early as possible. Roughly, it can be said that the total healing time for a sprained wrist is about 3-10 weeks.
Improve wrist mobility with these 8 exercises
To prevent wrist-related injuries, proper stretching of the wrists is key and can help you to maintain or even regain your wrist mobility, fight injury, and keep exercise enjoyable.
Use these eight wrist stretches before exercise, mid-workday, and after a long day of typing and texting.
- Fist Pumps | 5 reps – This stretch increases circulation and draws blood flow to the wrists, hands, and fingers.
- Wrist Rollout | 5 reps per side – This stretch warms up the supporting tissues of the wrists and brings circulation into the joint.
- Hands and Knees Extensor Stretch | 20 sec – Relieve tension in the tops of the wrists and forearms with this extensor stretch
- Hands and Knees Flexor Stretch | 20 sec – Stay in tabletop position for this move that relieves tightness in the underneath of the wrists and forearms.
- Hands and Knees Wrist Circles | 5 reps per side – This stretch invites circulation into the wrists and forearms and releases tension on all sides of the wrists.
- Wall Flexor Stretch | 30 sec per side – This stretch lengthens the wrist flexor muscles.
- Gorilla Pose | 30 sec – This yoga pose counteracts exercises such as plank and push-ups and works to massage the palms and relieve tension in the wrist joints.
- Forearm Self-Massage – Practicing self-massage is a great way to release trigger points – or “knots” – in the muscles.
Check out the link below for instructions on how to perform these exercises.
How can you avoid Repetitive Stress Injuries from using a computer mouse?
Maintaining proper posture can reduce the likelihood of suffering from computer-related RSI. These steps recommended by licensed chiropractor, Steven Jones can help correct poor posture when using a mouse:
- Placing the input device directly in your immediate reach zone offers natural comfort and maximum hand-eye coordination. The use of a platform for the mouse is preferable. Some models of mouse platforms attach directly to your chair.
- Your chair should have arm rests that are adjustable.
- Your wrist should be either in a neutral position or flexed slightly downward when operating both your mouse and your keyboard. For this reason, if you select a mouse platform that attaches to your chair, adjustability of the platform is of primary importance.
- Consider using a high quality office chair with adjustable armrests and lumbar supports. It should also allow some degree of recline.
- Make sure that the upper arm and elbow are as close to the body and as relaxed as possible for mouse use – avoid overreaching.
- Hold the mouse lightly, don't grip it hard or squeeze it. Place the pointing device where you don't have to reach up or over very far to use it. The closer you can place it to your body the better.