Wrist Pain And The Wrist Widget
What is the Wrist Widget?
The wrist widget is a discrete, non-intrusive, velcro brace designed to help treat pain on the ulnar side (little finger side) of the wrist. This pain is usually associated with damage or tearing to the triangular fibro cartilage complex (TFCC). The widgets sleek design, takes up less space than a watch, but is incredibly effective in relieving wrist pain.
What is the TFCC?
The TFCC is composed of several structures which includes a small piece of meniscus. It lies between the end of the ulna bone and the small carpal bones of the wrist and acts a shock absorber and stabilizer of the distal radioulnar joint. It is a common site of pain due to the compressive loads we place through the wrist, especially if this compression is combined with ulnar deviation (rotating the wrist toward the pinky side).
What does the TFCC do?
The TFCC is the main stabilizer of the wrist. The complex is composed of the triangular fibrocartilage, ulnar meniscus homolog, ulna collateral ligament, several carpal ligaments and the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon sheath. It is essentially a ligament and a piece of meniscus connecting bone to bone and providing cushioning to the joint. It supports the wrist with grip, weight-bearing, and rotation (supination and pronation) movement and most importantly it keeps the radius and ulna from painfully spreading apart.
How is it Injured?
The TFCC can tear with rotational movements (especially when loaded), excessive weight bearing, a fall onto an outstretched hand or it can accompany a fracture to the wrist.
My wrist hurts, how do I know if it’s the TFCC?
Some common signs and symptoms of a TFCC tear are:
· Pain and tenderness localized to the ulna (pinky) side of the wrist
· Pain that gets worse with simple gripping and rotation movements (opening a door)
· Clicking, snapping, or crackling (crepitus) when rotating the wrist.
· Pain (in this area) during weight-bearing activities such as push-ups or pushing off a chair
· A Feeling of instability through the wrist
A TFCC definitive diagnosis takes into account history, how it was injured, objective testing and any imaging. Treatment for TFCC injuries includes protective bracing (wrist widget) to allow the tear to heal, correction of any soft tissue tightness and joint stiffness to restore normal mechanics to the wrist followed by a progressive strengthening program to restore normal grip strength and wrist stability.
How do if know if the Wrist widget will work for me?
The most accurate way to determine if the wrist widget will be effective is with the weight bearing push test. In a seated position place both palms on the chair you are sitting on and gently weight bear through the hands to lift your hips off the seat. Pain in this position, on the ulnar side of the wrist, counts as a positive test. Then provide stability to the wrist joint by either taping or putting on a wrist widget, an immediate reduction in symptoms is a positive finding and indicative of TFCC injury.
Putting the widget on
The Wrist Widget provides the support for the TFCC and prevents the radius and ulna from spreading; allowing the TFCC to heal naturally and without surgery. The velcro closure mechanism does not interfere with wrist motion, It holds the wrist securely in place without irritation to the skin or wrist joint.
The widget is designed so it can be used on the left or the right wrist. Remove it from its packaging and insert the straps through their appropriate holes so you have a circular brace.
Slide the widget over the hand until the ulna head (pinky side of the wrist) is exposed between the two straps. Once sitting in this position, tighten the straps as much as is comfortable. If you are performing strenuous or weight-bearing activities, there is a greater need for compression so the brace will need to be tighter. If you are resting or sleeping then not as much compression is required and the brace can be worn more loosely.
So that’s a brief overview of how TFCC problems can occur and the benefits of wrist widgets, If you have questions or comments feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily answer them for you.
If you think you may already be suffering from a TFCC injury or experience ulna sided wrist pain and think you might benefit from a wrist widget, then call us on (08) 9486 8653 and we will arrange an appointment for you.