The Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC), which is on the same side of your wrist as your pinky finger, stabilizes the bones of your wrist so that you can rotate and move your wrist freely. It is comprised of ligaments that connect bones and cartilage that provides cushion and lubrication between the bones. The ligaments and cartilage of the TFCC are prone to tearing. A minor TFCC injury would be a wrist sprain but a TFCC injury can be more serious and treatment can be challenging because of poor blood flow to the region, resulting in improper healing.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical treatment: Pain when you rotate your palm upward, such as opening a door; weakness in the wrist; instability in the wrist; a clicking or popping sound in your wrists.
Your doctor will likely take X-rays, an MRI or an MRI with injected dye to diagnose you (called an arthrogram). If your doctor is unable to diagnose you based on the results of these tests, you may need to undergo a surgical prodecure where a mini camera is inserted to see if there are any tears in your ligaments or cartilage (called an arthroscopy).
Your TFCC injury can be attributed to your job. Examples of work related TFCC injuries include:
– A worker who slips and falls and lands on an outstretched hand.
– A worker using a drill bit that becomes stuck, causing the wrist to turn forcefully.
– Degeneration over time from repetitive tasks such as continual twisting and pulling of an item on an assembly line.
In Illinois, if your TFCC injury was caused, aggravated or accelerated by your job, then you are entitled to benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. This means that regardless of a pre-existing condition, if your injury is in any way related to your job activities then you should be able to get workers’ compensation benefits.
So, the costs of your treatment should be covered or at least supplemented by workers’ compensation if you were injured due to your job. Typically, treatment will include wearing a brace or bandage to keep your wrist immobile as well as anti-inflammatory medication (Advil, Motrin) or even prescription pain relieving drugs. Other methods to relieve pain and inflammation include icing and cortisone injections.
If none of the above work to relieve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery, using the same method for diagnosis described above but where debridement (which is smoothing and shaving) of tears in cartilage is performed.
If your TFCC injury is work related, you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you get all of the benefits you are entitled to. If you are concerned about the cost of an attorney, keep in mind that your attorney should work on a contingency basis. This means that you pay nothing, unless you get something. All fees, costs and expenses will come from the amount you recover and should only be a percentage of that total amount. But, if you get nothing, you owe nothing.
A work related injury can cause a great deal of stress, both physically and mentally. You should not have to suffer the expense as well. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will help you through the process and ensure that you get the maximum benefits. Consider your legal rights and call a highly experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
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