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JosieWales71


Jul 18, 2012, 3:03 PM
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TFCC Surgery Recovery
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Hello Everyone,

In July '11, I hurt my TFCC lifting weights. For 8 months I tried conservative treatment: no weight lifting/climbing, splints, Anti-Inflammatories, and Cortisone injections. And I didn't improve.

Finally in March '12, I had surgery performed by a top hand specialist. He found no complete tear. But he found a partial tear on the peripheral TFCC which he debrided.

Now 4 months later, I have full range of motion and can do my average daily living activities. Just like before the surgery. And I'm also doing rehab.

But right now, I can't lift anything heavy or climb. And I am in more pain now than before the surgery.

Has anyone had TFCC debridement?
How long did it take to feel better?
How long did it take to fully recover 100%?
Did your TFCC pain get worse after surgery, and then get better?

I was wondering whether anyone can provide me with some feedback. It's been a tough time.


b1a2


Jul 19, 2012, 5:24 AM
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Re: [JosieWales71] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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Hey Josie,
I hurt mine in Feb 11(peripheral),cortizone shot mid march then TFCC debridement in the beginning of May.I was climbing by the end of June although it took months to get the strength back in my hand and arm(lost ALOT of muscle).
Here it is July 12 and It still bothers me but I can do enough to keep me happy.I know I will never be able to push it too much.I'm not sure how much you researched but my understanding is you will never be 100%.The tear will always be there.I feel bad for anyone who has this injury as it never fully heals.Try to find the positives of what you can do.

I find mine feels good some days and not so good others.
Good Luck!


JosieWales71


Jul 19, 2012, 4:00 PM
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Re: [b1a2] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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Hi b1a2,

Good to hear from you. I'm glad you are climbing and doing better. Ok, so you had surgery in May '11 and by the end of June '11 you were climbing again? How long did it take for you to start feeling any benefit from the surgery?

My Hand Therapist and Doctor aren't sure why my pain isn't decreasing. However they've seen cases where it has taken months to start feeling better.

I did some research, yeah my wrist will never be the way it was before the injury. However, I'm hoping to substantially reduce or eliminate the pain, and be able to do physical activity.


b1a2


Jul 20, 2012, 4:32 AM
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Re: [JosieWales71] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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Hey Josie,
I was climbing again about a month and a half after the surgery but I'm talking slabs and moderate face climbs,no cracks.
Mine was so bad at first that I could not hold a spoon,open the door ,start my car,ect..
Cortizone shot helped within two weeks for me to start using my hand again and getting a little range of motion back.That is when I started to get the snapping and clicking sounds that I had read about.
When I decided on the surgery,my doc told me to expect about a 65 % success rate.No guarantee(oh great).
Anyway,to answer your question,I felt the benefit of the surgery within the first couple of weeks.PT(4 or 5 weeks) helped to get my range of motion to within one degree of my left hand and regain some strength back.
Mine does still hurt alot of days but it sounds like yours is alot worse.
I hope you improve as time goes on.


JosieWales71


Jul 21, 2012, 3:09 PM
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Re: [b1a2] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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Thanks for the support b1a2. I hope things eventually work out for me.

I'm glad to hear debridement improved your condition, and that you are climbing.


aerili


Jul 23, 2012, 6:05 PM
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Re: [JosieWales71] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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Hi Josie,

I had TFCC debridement surgery in October 08 after injuring mine in January 08 (apparently when my wrist underwent a violent subluxation during climbing). Like you, I went through a long and exhaustive (and fruitless) conservative treatment phase, including rest, immobilization, physical therapy, and 3 sports med hand doc consultations.

My tear was central. Similarly to the other poster, I could do almost nothing with that hand/arm. I could not lift a plate of food, turn a key in a lock, I could not bear weight on my palm, etc. Consequently, my arm atrophied a lot during that year of no climbing (and almost no living!). It was hell!

I was under the impression peripheral tears were not debrided but rather repaired. Yours was not? I am confused by this.

I did my first climbing (easy face climbing) about 2-2 1/2 months after the surgery. I started climbing intermittently for a few months after that, mostly due to shitty winter weather. I also started hand therapy around that time.

I started really getting back into climbing shape about 6 months after the surgery (due to spring/summer arrival). It took a looong time to get back into shape, but I put up my hardest trad lead ever about 8 months after surgery (5.9). Within 2-3 months of that, I was leading into the 5.10 crack climbing realm. I never thought that would be possible after what I went through.

I would say about 10-12 months post-op, I felt like the surgery never happened. And I was totally pain-free.

I wouldn't say I had more pain after the recovery process 4 months in, but I had pain in a different area that persisted for at least 6 months: pain around the radius which I couldn't understand. Finally, my hand therapist talked to some random hand surgeon who mentioned that patients who undergo synovectomies during wrist surgery (which I did) can have a lot of resulting pain from that which takes some time to heal. This is because they essentially cut away the inflamed synovium and the healing process is time-consuming. Did you have a synovectomy which could be contributing to your pain?

You also have all my best wishes. This was an injury which altered my life significantly for a very long time and one of the worst years of my recent life. I hope you eventually have a full recovery and result like I did.


JosieWales71


Jul 24, 2012, 1:04 PM
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Re: [aerili] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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Hey Aerili,

It seems that yours and b1a2ís injuries were worse than mine.

I could hold a plate and spoon, and open doors, but my TFCC would feel more strain. Opening tight jars, lifting something heavy, starting my car, and turning a key into a tight lock all hurt too much. And I avoided using my right hand for this. As far as weight bearing on my palm, I could do 3-4 push-ups before I had to stop because of increased pain. Before the injury I could do 40.

What signaled it was time for surgery was the constant pain--even at complete rest--and no improvement after 8 months. So much so that I would ice it daily and take ibuprofen.

As for surgery, the doctor found ďa partial peripheral tear,Ē which he debrided. He said I didnít have a complete peripheral tear which required repair (ie: suturing). He also discovered fraying of the ECU sheath, which he debrided. He found some synovitis and performed a synovectomy. Afterwards he said I will get better, based upon what he saw. And that there was nothing in there to prevent me from doing normal things once I recover. This coming from a renowned hand surgeon.

Now my Doctor is unsure why Iím still having pain. My hand therapist thinks itís weird. She was a bit stunned when I told her itís worse than before. I only have pain on the ulnar side of the TFCC. I donít have pain in any other parts of the wrist. Only some post operative stretching pain when I flex my wrist.

Aerili, do you still have clicking and grinding in your wrist? I do, and once in awhile itís painful.

They advised to continue strengthening/rehab in the hopes it will help it heal. As it stands now I canít even climb a ladder. On the bright side, my wrist isnít getting worse. I will be patient and continue as advised in the hopes of things getting better. If not, I will see my doctor again.


aerili


Jul 25, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Re: [JosieWales71] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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I do not have clicking and grinding in my wrist, although I eventually did re-injure it in Dec 2010. I climbed a sport route I knew I shouldn't have (I just avoid certain [all?] kinds of hard climbing because the potential for injury is too high for me, but this day I did not heed my inner voice). I took 3 months off then and it got better with rest alone, but I was really worried!

Although it does bother me now and again ever since that re-injury, I do not have actual clicking and grinding. Also, taking fish oil supplements has greatly helped any residual pain from the re-injury.

Maybe your pain is due to the ECU debridement and the synovectomy? I would assume the ECU sheath has a blood supply and thus both of those procedures now require healing, which is a long and painful process. I must admit, the synovectomy caused a significant amount of pain for me and took a very long time to completely regenerate. Whenever I would climb or lift weights for up to 6-8 months later, it hurt and I would freak out. My hand therapist reassured me it would eventually heal and what I was doing wasn't making anything worse. In my case, she was definitely correct.

You might consider a second opinion if your wrist continues to be problematic.


b1a2


Jul 26, 2012, 6:42 AM
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Re: [JosieWales71] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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No clicking or grinding in my wrist either Josie.I get pain in mine a couple of times a week but I am a flooring contractor and I think that is the reason I have this problem in the first place.I stacked some firewood the other day and paid for it that night.

I would be a little concerned if I could not climb a ladder at this point in your recovery.I hope you get better on your own.I know how frustrating this injury can be.


oxygengrrl


Jul 29, 2012, 7:06 AM
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Re: [JosieWales71] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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Hi Josie
For what it's worth, another experience.

I mantled myself a TFCC tear in late spring 2010. It was diagnosed in early fall as a TFCC. Had a cortisone shot that hurt something awful (cortisone flare) and didn't help at all, and had surgery in Nov 2010. The doctor, a hand specialist who had done a lot of these, could not repair the central tear, but did debride it.

I was in a dressing for several weeks and then in physical therapy for months. Started climbing again in Feb 2011 or so (when the physical therapist & doctor said I could) very slowly, very easy stuff. Was probably back at my old skill level maybe 5-6 months later.

I still tape, and plan to forever. I get twinges of pain when I lift heavy things with that wrist untaped. I mantle off my closed fist instead of open palm, if I must mantle, but generally I try to find another way up. My initial pain was not as bad as other folks' here (I could climb--it just hurt), but it was not a fast recovery. This said, I also moved cross-country halfway through and the hand specialist on my new coast, recommended by the old one, told me that he probably would not have done the surgery--would have just kept me off it for the same amount of time and done a lot of PT, so who knows.

Hope this helps. Ask your dr. and your PT lots of questions--they won't know all the answers, but at least you can figure out what can be known.

Good luck!


jsh


Aug 1, 2012, 1:34 PM
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Re: [oxygengrrl] TFCC Surgery Recovery [In reply to]
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Adding a data point -- I tore my TFCC in 1998 or so, fell backwards while rollerblading. I went through the months of trying nonivasive stuff, then ended up in surgeon's offices after 6 mos. I stuck with the older more traditional guy, who was also a big skiier, instead of the younger guy with cooler new tools. I'm glad I did.

Reading these posts, I'm not sure exactly what my pathology was in terms of tear specifics, but -- the surgeon did a complete repair, drilling a hole up diagonally through my ulna and tying the TFCC in through that. He put a screw in across the radius & ulna to make SURE there was no joint motion while I recovered (screw came out later, of course). Two months in an elbow cast was ugh, but it recovered beautifully and is completely bombproof (and pain free) now.

Best of luck to you all.


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