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Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex

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Anatomy of the TFCC[1]
Anatomy of the TFCC

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) formed by:

  • Triangular Fibrocartilage Disc (TFC)
  • Radioulnar Ligaments (RULs)
  • Ulnocarpal Ligaments (UCLs)

Triangular Fibrocartilage Disc (TFC)

  • Articular discus that lies on the pole of the distal ulna
  • Triangular shape and a biconcave body; the periphery is thicker than its center.
  • The central portion of the TFC is thin, consists of chondroid fibrocartilage
    • This central area is often so thin that it is translucent
    • Can be absent in some cases
  • The peripheral portion of the TFC is well vascularized, while the central portion has no blood supply.
  • This discus is attached by thick tissue to the base of the ulnar styloid and by thinner tissue to the edge of the radius just proximal to the radiocarpal articular surface

Radioulnar Ligaments (RULs)

  • Principle stabilizers of the distal radioulnar joint
  • Formed by the palmar and dorsal radioulnar ligaments
    • Each consists of superficial and deep component
  • Originate: from the distal radius medial border
  • Insertion: ulna styloid and fovea
  • Rich vascular supply promotes healing

Ulnocarpal Ligaments (UCLs)

  • Consists of the ulnolunate and ulnotriquetral ligaments
  • Originate from the ulnar styloid, insert in the lunate an triquetrum respectively
  • Prevent dorsal migration of ulna


  • Cover the ulna head by extending the articular surface over the distal radius
  • Load transmission across the ulnocarpal joint, partially load absorbing
  • Allows forearm rotation with strong, flexible connection between distal radius and ulna
  • Supports the ulnar portion of the carpus

Vascular Supply


  • Dorsal ulnar cutaneous nerve[4]

Clinical Significance

See Also


  1. Image courtesy of https://musculoskeletalkey.com/, Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Injuries
  2. Mikić Z. The blood supply of the human distal radioulnar joint and the microvasculature of its articular disk. Clin. Orthop. Relat. Res. 1992;275:19–28. doi: 10.1097/00003086-199202000-00005.
  3. Unglaub F., Kroeber M.W., Thomas S.B., Wolf M.B., Arkudas A., Dragu A., Horch R.E. Incidence and distribution of blood vessels in punch biopsies of Palmer 1A disc lesions in the wrist. Arch. Orthop. Trauma Surg. 2009;129:631–634. doi: 10.1007/s00402-008-0629-3.
  4. Chang K.-V., Mezian K., Naňka O., Wu W.-T., Lou Y.-M., Wang J.-C., Martinoli C., Özçakar L. Ultrasound imaging for the cutaneous nerves of the extremities and relevant entrapment syndromes: From anatomy to clinical implications. J. Clin. Med. 2018;7:457. doi: 10.3390/jcm7110457.
Created by:
John Kiel on 9 March 2023 17:13:27
Last edited:
18 July 2024 14:11:08