I've received a few PMs regarding wrist and TFCC issues I replied to.
Wrist injuries usually boil down to ligament and cartilage damage, as with your TFCC injury.
My wrist injuries so far:
- partial (2/3) ligament rupture in ulnar wrist + TFCC damage
Got it thanks to a botched clean and press attempt.
Consulted with two sports physicians who only X-rayed my wrist, did very little in terms of palpation and diagnostics and told me it was just a sprain, I should keep on lifting as long as it wouldn't cause me pain.
And so I did, for about 15 months. Only noticed mild discomfort / pressure during pressing exercises, but no real pain. My wrist got very loose, though, so I consulted with a hand surgeon who did an arthroscopy and found the aforementioned partial rupture and damaged TFCC tissue. I guess I incurred the TFCC damage during the 15 months training post ligament rupture.
The surgery went fine, got a full cast on my arm for 4 weeks and a half-cast for another two weeks. My arm had atrophied a LOT (lost almost 4"), but it all came back pretty fast (after 5 weeks of training, give or take) thanks to the almighty memory effect.
I made a few mistakes, though:
- got into lifting too soon and too heavy
- didn't appreciate the importance of proper rehab: ROM exercises and self-massage to minimize scar tissue
- went too athletic too soon: push-ups, burpees, you name it - pretty dumb
6 months post-op I fell and tried to brace my then-200 lbs with my just rehabbed hand. Things went downhill from there and try as I might, I couldn't find a doc who could help me out.
- ECU subluxation in other wrist
Got it two and a half years post-op during narrow-grip supinated 'bb speed rows' - I simply went too fast and my other wrist was too relaxed - I just wasn't focused enough, I guess.
My wrist lost a good deal of stability and sometimes there would be some swelling at the ulnar wrist, with rashes surfacing the back said hand.
Again, docs couldn't help me.
Now to the stuff that did actually help me:
- TFCC damage
There's a cool wrist wrap called 'Wrist Widget' - I'd definitely give it a try.
Basically, it's doing the TFCC's job without taking stress off the muscles responsible for wrist stabilization. The inventor claimed it should be able to heal TFCC damage after wearing it for at least 6 weeks non-stop. That I did - and my wrist really got better.
I'd just stay off pressing exercises for at least 3 months and use straps for pulling exercises - better safe than sorry. Also, depending on wrist flexibility, I'd lay off barbell squat variations. Don't do exercises where force applies perpendicular to your wrist. Rows and shrugs should be fine, curls aren't.
- Cartilage regrowth
Some people claim they managed to regrow cartilage by using Adequan. Just google it. It's an injectable for horses and canines, but inspired by its efficacy on their horses joint improvement some horse owners have taken to using it on themselves, too. The same substance used to be made for human use in the late 80s, but was taken off the market in the early 90s due to some complications (google for Arteparon).
Some forum locals have given Adequan a try. If I had severe TFCC damage, I'd give it a try.
- Regenerative injection therapy aka prolotherapy / proliferation therapy
A very promising kind of treatment making use of the body's own healing capabilities.
Upon injury, your body starts healing the injury site. Sadly, this doesn't last forever. After 40-odd days the ground work has been done. This is bad news for avascular tissue like ligaments, tendons and cartilage.
Basically, regenerative injection therapy is just a means of externally stimulating the body to restart the healing cascade at an injury site. Usually, a dextrose solution is utilized, but there are other injectables.
Now, this procedure requires a doctor skilled in administering these injections: it's not a simple matter of needle-in, needle-out. This is a big topic on its own, though, so I won't delve further into it.
Just rest assured:
ligaments can be healed or at least stabilized using prolotherapy. I've had it done on my wrists (and other joints). But this takes some time and requires good eating and living habits, i.e.: eat well, get enough sleep.
I've had my first wrist injections 11 months ago and didn't eat or sleep enough (I averaged 4h a night). My wrists got better during the course of 6 months, but they still seemed somewhat delicate. For the last 5 months I've increased my sleep (I average 6h a night, now: still not enough, but definitely better) and also my caloric intake, most of all my protein intake. Additionally, I made sure to get a lot of vitamin C (improves collagen cross-linking integrity).
Some practitioners claim the same holds true for cartilage repair. I'm not sure if conventional prolotherapy can get it done, but I've read about PRP (platelet rich plasma) - based prolotherapy being promising in this regard.
To sum it up: if there were conventional treatment modalities, I'd use them. But after consulting with too many asinine docs who did nothing for me but telling me to maybe switch to cycling, I took matters into my own hands. I've found a doc who helped me a lot, but his practice is a 3h drive away.
My wrists are still getting better.
Currently, I'd rate them a solid 80%. There's no grinding anymore and only rare clicking.
I can do pain-free lateral raises which I hadn't been able to do since 2004.
The same with curls.
Making a fist doesn't end in clicking, grinding and hurting, anymore.