Painful wrist? Difficulty bearing weight on your hand?

Have you had a recent, or even old, injury to your wrist and you now find it difficult to weight bear through your hand and wrist during activities such as Yoga, Pilates, or Gym workouts? Or do you experience pain when simply pushing up from a chair, or the floor? Have you experienced pain localised to the ulnar (little finger) side of your wrist with twisting motions of your wrist such as: wringing out wet clothes; turning a door knob; lifting or carrying an object with your hand palm up; or playing Tennis or Golf?

These are all symptoms of an injury to the ulnar side of your wrist. Specifically, you might have a TFCC ligament injury. The Triangular Fibro Cartilage Complex, or the TFCC, is the most common structure injured with a fall on an outstretched hand or with a heavy twisting motion of the wrist. An injury to the TFCC may also occur when you have broken your wrist. 

The TFCC is the main ligament on the ulnar side of the wrist that stabilises or supports the two long bones of the forearm – the radius and ulna. TFCC injuries are painful, especially when under load on rotation of the wrist, when gripping, and weight bearing.

Consultation with a Hand Therapist is recommended to determine whether you have a TFCC injury, or injury to surrounding structures. Hand Therapists have the specialised skills required to examine a painful wrist and use their knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics to prescribe appropriate treatment for each different wrist injury. They can also determine whether you need to see your GP for X-rays, ultrasound or MRI. 

Hand Therapy for a TFCC injury may include: 

  • Assessment of your wrist movement, strength, and special tests, including the weight bearing test. This will allow the hand therapist to determine the source of your pain, assist in diagnosis and direct treatment techniques.
  • Providing an orthosis/splint to support the TFCC, allowing it to heal:
  • Will depend on the timing of your injury, the amount of instability of your wrist, and location and intensity of your pain
  • Options might be a larger wrist splint to immobilise the wrist, with an extra strap supporting the ulnar side of the wrist, or a WristWidget® splint which allows full wrist motion whilst supporting the TFCC ligament 
  • Alternate ways of movement and functioning to reduce ongoing pain, and allow time to the injured structure to heal.
  • Prescription of graded strengthening exercises and specialised ‘proprioceptive’ and control exercises, which have been shown to improve pain, strength, stability and coordination.

Call your local hand therapist today for an opinion and assistance in the management of your wrist pain and get back to doing the activities you enjoy without pain.

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