The Wrist: Athletic TFCC Injuries

Luke B. Simonet, Leon Lenchik, Scott D. Wuertzer, Robert M. Szabo, Abhijit J. Chaudhari, Robert D. Boutin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: The purpose of this article is to illustrate MRI examples of acute triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injuries following the Palmer classification, including subtypes of the acute traumatic injuries originally described. In the discussion of these athletic TFCC injuries, recent studies and references are discussed with regard to implications in diagnosis and treatment. The article also reviews the role of ulnar abutment in degenerative injury to the TFCC and surgical approaches to correction. Recent Findings: Recent findings regarding the role of the TFCC in distal radioulnar joint stability (DRUJ) and the importance of MRI in preoperative planning of the wrist are reviewed. New studies emphasizing the importance of repair of partial tears of the foveal attachment of the TFCC, the association of TFCC tears with distal radius fractures, and wafer procedures are also discussed. Summary: Injuries of the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) are commonplace in athletes across multiple sports. The TFCC acts to cushion forces transmitted from the ulnar side of the wrist to the upper extremity. Athletic activities tend to deliver an increased axial load and greater twisting motion upon the wrist. The Palmer classification system for TFCC injuries was first introduced in 1989, but is still used for both acute traumatic and degenerative injuries of the TFCC. MRI plays a pivotal role in diagnosing and classifying athletic injuries of the TFCC, helping guide orthopedists and hand surgeons in caring for patients with ulnar-sided wrist pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number39
JournalCurrent Radiology Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Sports medicine
  • Triangular fibrocartilage complex
  • Wrist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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