The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is an area located in the space that adjoins the bones in your forearm called the ulna and the radius. The TFCC tear results in chronic pain in your wrist.
The TFCC, or triangular fibrocartilage complex, is a structure in your wrist. If you sustain an injury to this part of your wrist, it can cause pain along the outside of the wrist as well as a limited range of motion in your hand.
Your wrist is an intricate and complex body part, and the TFCC is no exception. It’s a network of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage that lies between two bones on the pinky finger side of your wrist.
The purpose of the TFCC is to stabilize and cushion the wrist, particularly when you rotate your hand or grasp something with it. Unfortunately, due to the TFCC’s structural complexity, it’s highly vulnerable to damage.
Stem cell treatment for TFCC tears is a relatively new concept, however, researchers are excited to continue studying the benefits and pinpointing exactly which protocols are most useful for treating TFCC repairs.
In this article, we’ll discuss what this injury means and what treatment options are available to you.
What is a TFCC Tear and What Causes it?
Your TFCC connects the bones in your hand to the bones in your wrist and forearm. This structure plays a major role in the movement in your wrists, your ability to rotate your forearm, and the support your forearm needs when your palm is gripping an object.
Now that you know what role the TFCC plays, what happens when it’s torn?
A TFCC tear is caused by an injury or damage to the structure. Two different types of tears can occur:
- Type 1 Tear: This type of tear results from a physical injury to the TFCC. This could include a fall on the wrist or an over-rotation.
- Type 2 Tear: A type 2 tear is also known as a chronic tear. This is a gradual injury that occurs over time due to aging or an underlying medical condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
No matter which type of tear you suffer from, the pain and limited range of motion is difficult to deal with and can significantly impair your ability to perform activities of your daily life.
What are TFCC Symptoms?
In addition to the pain that occurs on the outside of the wrist, other symptoms of TFCC include:
- Weakness or stiffness in the wrist
- Limited range of motion in the wrist
- Popping or clicking sound when moving the wrist
- Pain that gets worse with activity
If your doctor suspects that you have a torn TFCC, he or she will likely order an MRI to confirm the tear. From there, you have some treatment options which we’ll discuss next.
TFCC Treatment Options
The initial treatment options for a TFCC tear include rest, physical therapy and cortisone shots. If the initial, conservative treatment options don’t provide significant relief, the next step is usually surgical intervention.
The length of time your doctor will recommend that you try conservative treatment methods before resorting to surgery will vary depending on your unique situation.
The treatment options for these tears depend on the cause, type, and extent of the damage. In some cases, the tear will heal on its own. However, this is rare as for the injury to heal, you’d need to avoid using the affected wrist, which is difficult to maintain.
Your doctor may recommend that you wear a brace, splint, or cast to help immobilize and protect your wrist. Again, this can be difficult if you have a job that requires you to use your wrist.
Pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and cortisone shots are used to temporarily relieve the pain and swelling, however, once those treatments are discontinued, most patients are faced with the same frustrating condition that impairs their ability to function normally.
Unfortunately, research indicates that surgery to repair this injury produces an increase in negative side effects on the wrist, hand, fingers, and forearm which can contribute to additional injuries and complications.
So, aside from a risky surgical treatment, are there any other treatment options for those who are looking to feel relief without side effects and potential complications?
The answer is yes–stem cell treatment for TFCC tears has been shown to repair and heal the damaged area. Next up, we’ll talk about what stem cell treatment for TFCC looks like and if it might be a suitable option for you.
Stem Cell Treatment for TFCC Tears
Patients who suffer from all kinds of injuries, TFCC tears included, are looking for a safer, more natural and effective way to heal their injury and relieve their pain. Stem cells have been a hot topic for some time now as more information is discovered about their ability to heal naturally and without risky procedures.
There have been several studies conducted that focus on the benefits of stem cell treatments for TFCC repairs, and the outcomes are looking fantastic. This treatment is still in development, and we by no means promise a magical cure, however, the future of stem cell treatment is looking bright.
Stem cell injections are simple to administer and pose no threat to your health as they are completely natural and organic cells that are designed to heal your body. These injections are done during an outpatient procedure where your physician uses a concentrated mixture of stem cells that are injected directly into the area of injury.
The results of the stem cell injection include reduced pain and discomfort and restored function in the hand and wrist. The best part is, there is little to no downtime following the procedure. This is great news for those who need their hands to play sports, work, and maintain their daily activities.
If you’re suffering from a TFCC tear and you see surgery as an absolute last resort, stem cell therapy may be a great option for you. If you’re intrigued and want to learn more, get in touch! We’re happy to show you the supporting medical evidence for stem cell therapy and help you decide if this treatment is right for you.