Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex

The triangular fibrocartilage (TFC) complex is a combination of cartilage and ligaments found between the bones of the forearm and the wrist on the ulnar (pinky finger) side of the wrist, which acts as a hock absorber transferring forces through the wrist into the forearm. 

A TFC injury occurs when cartilage and/or ligaments become torn or damaged.

Symptoms of TFC Complex Injuries:

  • Pain during weight bearing activities such as push ups or pushing up from a chair.
  • Tenderness at the ulnar side of the wrist.
  • Possibly popping or clicking.

Causes of TFC Complex Injuries:

  • Trauma such as falling directly onto an outstretched hand.
  • Wear and tear resulting from repetitive stress sports such as football, basketball and baseball.
  • Natural wear that comes with aging.


A TFC tear is diagnosed after a thorough examination of the wrist. The diagnosis may be confirmed with an MRI scan.

Treatment options include:

  • Splinting
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Steroid injections
  • Arthroscopic surgery


© Copyright 2015 Dr. Allan Rosen MD