TFCC tear repair-climbing post op?


Original Post
ParkerKempf Kempf · · atlanta, GA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 0

I have a TFCC tear with a bunch of cysts that are interfering with my ulnar nerve and so I am getting all the cysts out and the tear repaired- the doc said 1 month in a wrist cast, and I can do anything I want, the only thing limiting me will be putting up with the pain. 

I asked him about climbing on it and he wasn't really sure if i could

any climber doctors on here have opinions on climbing with a wrist cast post op for a TFCC tear repair? if pain is my only 'stopper' im all for it, but if i could somehow damage something by climbing on it i wont

thanks

ParkerKempf Kempf · · atlanta, GA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 0

Late night bump!

Tom Rangitsch · · Lander, WY · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 1,456

You are not going to believe this, but I am a doctor, and I had a TFCC repair in 2006.  I did not have any cysts, rather a "joint mouse" of cartilage from my proximal lunate that was removed during my wrist scope.  I kept the cast on for the appropriate amount of time, and then was able to climb immediately afterward.  No problems.  Obviously this is an N of 1 type situation, but literally I had no rehab and was back to form as soon as I got back in shape from a forced rest.  Take it for what it is worth. 

Aerili · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 1,680

If you search on here, you will find some info on this injury. So if you want more input, you might try that first.

I had a TFCC tear. It was not repaired, but rather debrided. It is important to note the difference. A repair will take much, much, much longer to heal and return to normal activities. There are also several types of tear, all of which are a little bit different.

I did go through rehab eventually and it was several months before I could climb after the surgery. I did not need a cast. I did not have any other problems in the joint or around the joint except a lot of synovitis (which hurt a lot after the surgery). I personally would absolutely not climb with a cast on. I would wait. Is 4 weeks really that long to treat your body gently?   

Josh Janes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 7,953
Aerili wrote:

It was not repaired, but rather debrided. It is important to note the difference. A repair will take much, much, much longer to heal and return to normal activities. 

Years ago when I had my ACL replaced, the doctor also found a meniscus tear. The vast majority of the time the doc will excise the torn part and you're back to bearing weight the moment you're out of the operating room - even with the ACL replacement. When I woke up from anesthesia the doctor said "Hey, good news! I was able to REPAIR your meniscus." Rather than excising it he put a single suture in to repair it. But this also meant that, instead of walking around the next day, I was non-weight-bearing and on crutches for the next 6 weeks. I suspect the same is more or less true with the TFCC?

Anyway, this morning I finally saw a hand specialist about what I thought was my own TFCC tear. I've been reading these various threads with great anxiety. Good news: not a TFCC tear, rather, an avulsion fracture. Hard for me to believe this little broken bone chip could be the source of all my grief but the doc said no surgery, and even better, continue climbing (as pain allows).

I think it's natural to ask all these questions about what you'll be able to do and won't be able to do down the road, but in my experience you ultimately just have to wait to see what the doctor says after the consultation/xray/mri/surgery/whatever - it can be hard to predict ahead of time. For me I tend to dwell on the worst case scenario but it is helpful for me to try to get psyched on want I can do rather than what I can't... In this case I got psyched on running and hiking - figuring I'd never climb again. Then, when you get the news that you can indeed climb again (in my case I'm going out tomorrow) it feels like a real gift.

Aerili · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 1,680
Josh Janes wrote:

Years ago when I had my ACL replaced, the doctor also found a meniscus tear. The vast majority of the time the doc will excise the torn part and you're back to bearing weight the moment you're out of the operating room - even with the ACL replacement. When I woke up from anesthesia the doctor said "Hey, good news! I was able to REPAIR your meniscus." Rather than excising it he put a single suture in to repair it. But this also meant that, instead of walking around the next day, I was non-weight-bearing and on crutches for the next 6 weeks. I suspect the same is more or less true with the TFCC?

If he used a suture and then you had to keep load off the joint, that does sound like a repair. Meniscus is able to heal mechanically despite no direct blood flow to the inner 2/3. 

The TFCC has a portion that has blood flow and a portion that does not. It is hybrid. The ulnar side with blood flow is usually repaired if torn. The middle and radial sides with no blood flow are usually debrided if torn. Just because you get a debridement does not mean you are fully functioning immediately after surgery, and you may only be partially weight bearing, and you will certainly be swollen and lack range of motion for a while. (I used to help treat a lot of post-op joints a long time ago.) 

I had a wrist debridement and was in a soft wrapping for a week, then in a short splint for several weeks before I could even imagine beginning to move the joint, much less climb. Just an example that not everything is black and white.     

ParkerKempf Kempf · · atlanta, GA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 0

thanks for the advice guys! the doc said he couldn't tell exactly how bad it was based on the MRI. Its a good sign my hand is not noticeably weaker at all, but he gave me a recovery window of '2 weeks-6 months' haha

ill keep y'all updated....luckily I am an avid trailrunner and that will keep my sanity!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply