Since 2006, I have interviewed thousands of people with TFCC tears. There are two issues that repeat themselves again and again with TFCC injuries. The first is reported by patients who complain of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, recent stomach flu, and deficiencies in absorption like leaky gut syndrome. And the second comes from athletes who eat a high protein diet.
There is a significant group of patients (over 2000) who report no injury or fall to the wrist. They report waking up one day to a non-functional and painful wrist. How do we account for this phenomenon? Why is it that a young 20-year-old wakes up to a wrist that can only tolerate 20 lbs of weight bearing? When I recognized this as more than just a random occurrence, I wanted to find out why this happens.
I sought the counsel of acupuncturists around the globe and they consistently reported that the ulna side of the wrist is related to the stomach and small intestines.
Based on the TFCC-Gut connection a small group of my patients agreed to test their stool and blood. In 18/20 cases had significant pathologies in their gut: parasites, bacterial infections, yeast overgrowth and more. I was surprised that the incidence of gut-related pathologies was so high. These are significant findings and as a result, I make sure to share the TFCC-Gut connection with my patients. Another interesting finding is that central TFCC tears have a greater correlation to the gut than peripheral tears.
Athletes following a high protein diet who have TFCC injuries fascinate me. These patients are instructed to take in a normal protein intake based on body weight and activity level: 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (0.36 grams per pound bodyweight per day). An average sedentary man requires 56 grams or 46 grams for women. We've learned that the type of protein that is consumed makes a big difference. Since protein requires the highest energy to digest, it's important that the protein that is eaten during the healing process is easily digested - thus the move from red meat and whey to a plant-based, chicken, and fish diet. When I asked athlete patients to change their protein source and load, a dramatic change in their recovery time was noticed.
If you have a TFCC tear, it might be worth your time to think about your gut. It might be time to do a simple gut check up and understand more about your personal gut health. If you do get a test, please send me your results. Perhaps, one day soon, we can understand if there truly is a correlation and perhaps, we can treat the gut to further help this injury heal. Please send me your comments and experiences to