Picture 1: Splint from Nursemaid's Elbow - not happy!

The ligaments in my arm are pretty much worthless.

It all started around age 2 when my elbow began dislocating at its whimsy (apparently called nursemaid’s elbow), which was indicated by my blood curdling screams and concurrent elbow clutching. It happened so frequently – several times a day – that the doctor taught my mom how to relocate my elbow herself. To remedy the problem, I spent a lot of time in a long arm splint (Picture 1), and at one point had a long arm cast (which I quickly shattered on the side of my high chair because I wasn’t feelin’ it).

Then, during my Little League/swim team years I started having problems with my right shoulder being too loose and causing me wicked rotator cuff tendinitis,  and I mean wicked tendinitis. But, it wasn’t until I reached college that shit actually hit the fan. Between my freshman year and the summer after graduation I had 3 extremely painful, sucky shoulder surgeries to fix my jacked-up shoulders.

Thankfully, after my 3rd shoulder surgery things were going pretty smoothly for a while, and I was pleased with my long streak of injury-freeness. Yeah, things were looking up. I had several months of uninterrupted athletic participation, and was feeling pretty good as a result.

Picture 3: First long arm splint. Lesson to you all - they say to keep these things dry for a reason!

And that’s when it happened…During an indoor soccer game at Duburns my hand took the brunt of a power shot from the Jolly Green Giant (AKA an extremely tall guy) – apparently he didn’t realize that part of soccer is first beating the defense and then shooting. Anyways, it twisted into an unnatural position and then immediately turned purple and went completely numb. I did one of those drop- an’-roll-on-the-ground moves, and then got up and decided I was being a wuss because nothing was sticking out. I kept playing for a while, and my hand started getting really cold. It was weird, but I figured just a side effect of the blunt trauma.


Picture 2: First TFCC repair - yuck!

Then the next morning the top of my hand was all sorts of swollen so I begrudgingly took myself to the urgent care center for an x-ray. I’ve never broken anything before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Welp, the people at the urgent care place told me it probably wasn’t fractured since, after all, I could bend it. So then I felt like an uber-wuss and told myself to stop crying about a little swelling. But over the next couple of weeks my wrist was really sore and kept cracking. Plus every time I placed it on the table my wrist bones would pop and move out of place. Crap.

So I super-duper-duper begrudgingly went to see hand surgeon number 1, and – how do I put this nicely? – let’s just say I wouldn’t nominate him for a doctor of the year award anytime soon. He gave me a botched cortisone


Picture 4: My first TFCC surgery - splint and my beautiful grandmother 🙂

injection that caused my arm to feel like somebody snapped it in half, and then sent me for an MRI, which he couldn’t figure out how to open at my next apointment (it was on a cd). After telling me there was only a 50% chance he could repair my apparent Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) tear (my what?), I went for a 2nd opinion.

Hand surgeon number 2 immediately impressed me with his ability to open my MRI, which was definitely a good start. He also explained to me what the hell a TFCC is: a group of tendons, ligaments and cartilage that holds your wrist together, and why – as I begged and pleaded – putting it in a brace instead of repairing it was an exercise in futility because the ligament I tore was ripped completely off the bone, which he could see on my MRI since he was able to open it. He said he was 100% sure he could fix the tear (better odds!), and although he said he didn’t want to step on my other doctor’s toes, I had officially found the dude who was going to cut my wrist open (sawwweeet), and he was officially stuck with me (haha!).

Anyways, although I was very unhappy about it, I had yet another surgery, this time an open repair to fix one of my wrist ligaments. From what I’ve gathered, the doctor cut a Harry Potteresque incision into my wrist (Picture 2) and then sliced open the sheath of my extensor  tendon to get to my torn ligament. Then he put a metal suture anchor into my bone and attached my ligament to it, closed up the tendon sheath, and voila – all finished. And seriously, compared to my shoulder surgeries, this was cake! Actually, the most painful part about it was the incision I had, which kept catching on the cast padding. Also it sucked because I was in a long arm splint for 2 weeks (Picture 3) followed by 3 weeks in a forearm splint (Picture 4). This made it hard to do my hair, get dressed, shower – all important things to me.


Picture 5: My ECU tendon was huge!

So after I got out of the splint and started using my wrist again, I was pleasantly surprised by how solid it felt. No more looseness… actually it was tighter than it had ever been before. Awesome! Only problems were the  weird lump (Picture 5) on my wrist, I couldn’t feel a small section of my hand, and for some strange reason gripping a pen hurt like hell. Other than those little things (I wasn’t too concerned since I don’t really write with a pen all that often), it was great. But over the next couple months it became apparent that these little problems weren’t just caused by swelling from the surgery itself, so the doctor gave me a cortisone shot (I was afraid to get another one after the first doctor I saw messed up the shot, but he did a good job and it really helped!), and said he thought the sutures were rubbing on my tendon and that I would need to get them removed at my convenience. Since summer had just started I decided to wait on getting this done, and the cortisone shot made it feel a lot better, so I was golden!


New River Gorge climbing - I love climbing things! 🙂

Of course in the months to follow I was rock climbing a lot! My left elbow started seriously bugging me, but I figured it was from the sutures (the tendon ‘in question’ runs up my forearm to my elbow) so I just made sure to be careful and tried to force myself to take rests when needed. Then one day I was in the cave at the climbing gym, grabbed a hold at a weird angle, and felt a pop. My wrist hurt really badly for about 2 minutes, but pretty soon the pain went away, so I kept climbing.

However, after that my wrist got really achy and killed when I put weight on it. Plus it kept popping again. I knew that I had re-torn the ligament, so I called the doctor who sent me for an MRI and gave me another extremely helpful cortisone shot. But after that, although the tear wasn’t extremely painful for the most part, I developed seriously bad tendinitis in my elbow (reminded me of my Little League days). It sucked, and was not only keeping me up at night,


Picture 6: TFCC Repair #2 - stitches and swelling. My arm looks like a cartoon!

but keeping me up in excruciating pain (all in the name of climbing!). I couldn’t get the pain to stop – it suuuucked. Unfortunately, because of the suture anchor being metal, the MRI just showed a big black blob over my wrist. However the doctor was pretty sure I had re-torn my ligament and messed up my tendon sheath. Crap.

Seriously?!!! What the hell?!! So yup, I had to have ANOTHER open surgery (this is so the last time!!!). I got it done on Thursday, and surprise!, I actually tore 2 ligaments this time. Yup, once again the doctor cut a lightening bolt into my wrist (Picture 6) – take that Lord Voldemort (wow, I’m such a nerd)! The good news is that my tendon wasn’t messed up like the doctor thought it might be (woo-hoo). I had actually ripped the metal suture anchor (from my last surgery) out of my bone and it was floating around and roughing up my tendon and otherwise wreaking havoc on my wrist joint.


Picture 7: TFCC Repair #2 -Long arm splint. In retrospect, I was a little drugged up in this picture.

Since my tendon had been bothering me way before I heard the pop, I can only speculate that the first re-tear and the metal anchor being pulled out was the result of some poor judgment – rough housing with Ben after the first surgery (and I literally mean rough housing you pervs) – and the pop during climbing was the second ligament tear. Anyways, probably a good thing that I got the rogue suture anchor removed since I think my tendon was getting pretty pissed about the metal intruder.

Pretty gnarly, huh? So now I have 2 new, different anchors (I think) securing my formerly demolished ligaments, and get to spend the 3 weeks  in a long arm splint (Pictures 7 ) followed by 3 weeks in  a forearm cast (the doctor and I decided to be extra vigilant this time since apparently I can’t stay still enough to let it heal). So yeah, this time I plan to keep these anchors in the bone where they belong.

Yup, my arm is currently on lock down and my hair is a mess! Plus this splint thing is super itchy! Luckily, as long as I leave it alone and don’t move my


Picture 8: Purple Long Arm Cast

arm, the pain is barely noticeable. I did catch a look at my wrist the other day (I couldn’t help myself), and I think the massive lump is gone, which is pretty awesome.

Anyways, the whole thing kinda blows because I have to take 3 months off of rock climbing, but I think it will help me be better in the long run because the grip in my left hand was getting pretty bad.

But honestly wrist, can’t you just fracture next time???!!

Update 11/5 – I got my sutures out on Monday and the doctor decided – after seeing the enhancements I had made to my splint – that I was, what is the word? Oh, non compliant (he’s starting to know me well), so instead of sticking it out in the splint, he put me in a long arm cast (Picture 8 ).


Picture 9: Pink Long Arm Cast

I thought this was going to suck a lot, but it’s actually not too shabby. The cast hasn’t started itching, is super light,  doesn’t stink (so far) and isn’t as sweaty as the splint. Plus, it’s not pushing on my incision like the splint was, and I’ve figured out how to put my hair in a ponytail despite by inability to move my elbow. In fact, I think I actually like the cast a lot better. Anyways – it’s been only 3 days, so things may change, but only time will tell. Can’t wait to get back to rock climbing!

Update 11/18

I’ve had 2 cast changes since the initial purple cast. First I had a different long arm cast put on because the purple cast became too loose pretty quickly. It was hot pink and Ben painted it with the awesome design from the sticker that comes with La Sportiva’s new women’s Muira climbing shoes (Pictures 9 & 10). It was very cool, and when I got it removed the ladies in the casting room thought I should keep it because it looked so great, but since I had been working out so much in that thing it really stunk so I asked them to trash it (sorry Ben)!


Picture 10: Pink Long Arm Cast Decorated


Picture 11: Decorated Green Cast

Tuesday I had my cast changed yet again; this time to a green short arm cast (woo-hoo). Besides my elbow being sore and popping a lot from the long arm cast, I feel pretty good. I ran 6 miles yesterday, and it was awesome! So far the cast smells only slightly, which is good (all things considered). I figure in 3 weeks the cast is gonna smell pretty gnarly though. Oh well, such is life, right? Anyways, I decided to have Ben paint it like Rafael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Picture 11, 12 & 13), and it’s awesome! He did an amazing job. After seeing my new cast, a couple of my friends told me they wish they could break their arm so they could have an awesome cast too…I have weird friends.


Picture 12: My TMNT arm cast decoration - I was so pumped!


Picture 13: Forearm cast - forearm in a half shell 🙂










Update 12/9

Woo-hoo! I got my cast off on Tuesday! I’m totally excited about that. Some comments:

1. My wrist looks so much better!  I usually scar pretty badly, so I’m psyched about how good the incision site looks now (Picture 14) – especially because you can clearly see the Harry Potter lightning bolt (priorities).  Also the lump is gone and I can even see the outline of my arm bone again! Nice work Dr. Deitch 🙂

Picture 14: TFCC repair scar AKA the Lightning Bolt in all its glory.

2. I’m still a little stiff from being in the cast, but after only 2 days of stretching I can see a big difference, plus my wrist feels very sturdy, which is awesome!

3. It’s amazing what 6.5 weeks in a cast can do to your skin, and my arm hair looks like that of an Italian man’s.  A spa night may be in order – my house; Friday. Bring your mud masks and I’ll supply the wine and the Bridget Jones’s Diary (you know how I love Colin Firth).



About erinobrien26


29 responses »

  1. I just got my first TFCC/DRUJ cast. It sucks because it is long arm and palm up. It rocks because it is purple. You said you figured out how to put your hair up on handed…my vicodan bathed brain isn’t working. Any tips?

  2. Salman Khan says:

    hi erin,,, i accidentally came across ur blog whn i was searching for a related injury, i had a ecu tunnel syndrome on right hand wrist, which became worse cos docs couldnt identify it at proper time which lead to protuding of bone near ecu like in pic5 of urs,, finally i had surgery in 2003 n got cured 100%,, but ma bone at ecu is still a bit protuding thn normal,,but doesnt affect ma regular activities in any way. now again bad luck knocks ma door, had a fall from bike obviously overspeeding n injured ma left wrist, shwd to few docs but they were just daignosing pain n iflammation so had to go the same doc which done ma surgery n he with out a blink identified as same,, i,e ECU TUNNEL SYNDROME,, he’s trying to heal it with medicines for 1 week ,if im lucky enuff i would get healed insha allah or else surgery finally. the point im trying to say is i was getting v v irritated with the pain im having right now cos ma regular activities are all stopped,, cant ride bike,n workout..was getting v restless,, but whn i read ur blog,, well definelty ur inspiring cos it took a lot to get ur injuries healed n still u were like smiling n calm i guess. well im just 3 weeks with ma injury n im already frustated, restless, im now a bit calm after reading ur story of so long history of injuries,, n now i shldnt be complaining cos its nothing whn compared to urs.. just waiting to get healed either with medicines (insha allah) or surgery finally. n u got a sporting spirit n v pretty smile…


  3. Rich W. says:

    Your blog is great. I’m having a TFCC debridement and ulnar shortening on September 13, and I’m freaked. I’m very active in that I play ice hockey, golf, and spend a ton of time playing in Tahoe (skiing, fishing, etc). I also have “ligament disruption” so I’m not sure what that will means, but it’s all supposed to be addressed during surgery. I suppose it’s my reward for a lot of hard charging years.

    Did you go to hand rehab? Do it yourself? I’m in a soft-cast for a week (moving fingers), then a splint for 4 (off only for range of motion exercises), and then I get to go for it. I hope I won’t be casted at all (or as long as you), but I’ve been told I’m “non-compliant” all throughout this process. I got a good laugh out of seeing that in your blog since I heard the same exact thing. Funny, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m told it’s 12 weeks to full recovery by my doc, but other people make it sound like 6 months. How long until you were climbing?

    Sorry for peppering you with questions, but your surgeries seems to have worked great.



  4. Laura Dawson says:

    It win’t let me reply to your comment? Hm weird?
    In all honesty, I didn’t mind the surgery and all that, I really didn’t think it was that painful (I did a heck of a lot of stuff with un unhealed broken arm and I didn’t even notice) Like you said, It’s the whole having to be stationary thing that’s driving me absolutely insane. The constant battle between “It doesn’t hurt(yet), I want to climb/(insert vigorous, outdoor and usually dangerous activity here.) soooooo bad” and “You will screw yourself over if you do this.”
    I usually end up making a compromise, though admittedly I live in New Zealand and we have some pretty dense bush, and we don’t use tracks, so thinking back I probably shouldn’t have been doing so much tramping.
    I’m not terribly good at climbing, I’d only been at it about 4 months before I screwed my hand and then I kept climbing for quite a while after that, but I cannot even begin to describe how much I love and enjoy it. It’s like, when you aren’t climbing, the only thing you want to be climbing, all you can think about is climbing (Unfortunately I’ve been doing a lot of wishing lately 😉 )

    Cheers, Your blog pretty much made your day though here, in nz, it doesn’t seem to update til a few days after you’ve posted it.
    Make no apologies for being excited, heck, It’s a holiday! (we don’t really use the word vacation but there you go) That’s flippin exciting stuff. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt recently? Regret nothing, Make the most of now, appreciate the time you have now with your friends and never be afraid to take a risk.
    Where are you going? Have fun 🙂

    • erinobrien26 says:

      I’ve had issues with WordPress not letting ME comment on my own blog!

      I cringe at the thought of bones because I’ve never had to deal with anything bone-related (well except the fact that I supposedly have a bone chip floating around my ankle and have to have that fixed sometime soonish). I guess in my mind having a bone broken/smashed/shaved sounds like the worst thing ever!

      Girl, if I lived in New Zealand you’d have to knock me unconscious and drag me inside because that’s the only way you’d get me out of the wilderness! And as far as climbing goes I think some people just connect with it and others don’t. I was hooked from day 1 so I totally understand. It’s like, “so this is what I was supposed to be doing with my life all these years.” It would take a whole hell of a lot to keep me from climbing.

      So what’s the deal…6 more weeks in the cast and hopefully no surgery? Fingers crossed!
      LOL you reminded me of Bridget Jones when she says, “Am no longer tragic spinster, but proper girlfriend of bonafide sexgod, so committed that he’s taking me on a full-blown mini-break holiday weekend.” Yeah we don’t say ‘mini-break’ either lol. Ahh I love that movie so much, and there’s a 3rd one coming out! Random fact: in the US, when you take vacation from work and don’t actually go on a trip or anything it’s called a ‘stay-cation,’ which I think is hilarious.

      Anyways, I digress . We’re leaving Thursday for San Diego, California. We’re meeting up with some friends who live there and driving up to Tahoe State Park (Sierra Nevadas) in mid-east California. We’re doing a lot of kayaking, hiking and backpacking. I’m so excited and the weather is supposed to be perfect! It’s been pouring in Maryland for like a week and a half straight so I’m definitely ready to get away from here!

      • Laura Dawson says:

        Me too. Funny thing is, I am probably the most gumby person in exsistence yet I’ve never broken a bone. Well not in the natural, foll-over-something-and-snap-your-arm, way. A hint: If you must break a bone, surgery is the way to do it 😉 You’re asleep and they drug you up when you wake up. But seriously, not really that bad, I stopped taking anything after 3 days. Admittedly, one of my greatest fears is being out tramping/hiking or whatever you call it, and having my tramping partner do something horrific like break their leg. I’d be all good if it were me but if it were them? I’d probably be hopeless.

        I may be biased, but New Zealand is a totally wicked place, especially to live. Some people complain about it but really, those are the sort of people that have no lives, no hobbies and live to party and get drunk (Haha, I’m doing a good job of promoting my country am I not?) It can have a tendency toward being hick town-ish. In comparison to the states everything is tiny. However, for me, it is heaven. There’s pretty much everything you could ever want. For starters, most New Zealanders live within 40mins of a beach, which is fairly decent. I for one, live near one of the worlds longest breaks, Not that I can surf, but I sure as heck try.
        We have a ridiculous amount of bush, kiwis are keen trampers and there are so many places you can go, again within about 40min drive. We have skiing, mountaineering, mountain biking e.t.c we aren’t all about rugby and rowing. It is amazing. I love it. Anyway, enough of that.

        Yeah, sucks to be the ones who don’t click. It’s so hard to understand. Climbing just makes so much sense to me. Probably works against me because I sound exactly like you, I don’t exactly conform with the doctors orders.

        Six weeks :/ Not exactly ideal. Especially seeing as I already had a gigantic crack in the cast by day three (I was climbing over a fence at Ysar on one of the wednesday “Theory” nights).

        Maaaaaate, I love Bridget Jones, It’s one of those movies that never gets old, I still laugh every time I see it. The books are fantastic too.
        “Bridget Jones, wanton sex goddess, with a very bad man between her thighs… Mum, Hi.” We don’t say ‘mini-break’ either. We are very sophisticated peoples, one word for the whole lot.

        Wow, that sounds amazing/Igoogleditanditlooksamazing. It’s so different. Sounds so exciting, I can’t stand it when people classify shopping as a holiday. Kyaking, hiking and backpacking? Much better. It’s soo cold here. As in, snow cold. Also noting that it’s snowing in Auckland, where it hasn’t since the 1930s. I’m freezing my butt off.

  5. Cathy says:

    Hi I’m having tfcc surgery next week for completely severed ligament caused by crush injury to wrist. Dr says it’s 6 weeks in cast. Any ideas on how soon I can get back to using it normally and playing sports. I’m hoping that’s week 7.

    Delayed the surgery but now getting it done. Is it painful afterwards? How long do you need off work? Hoping it’s 100pc fix!

    • erinobrien26 says:

      Hi Cathy,
      I think it really depends on your sport. I would say it’s unrealistic to think you’ll be back to any sports by week 7. Imagine if you fall on your wrist when it’s just healed! I’d say a more realistic idea would be week 10 at the minimum. Trust me, you DO NOT want to re-tear your TFCC. Baby the crap outta it. The problem (to answer your 2nd question) is that no, I barely had any pain at all. Because of that, you get a false sense of security and that’s when shit hits the fan (excuse my french). I took 2 days off of work each time I had it done. I don’t like sitting around the house doing nothing. However, I do marketing and tech writing so I am mainly sitting at a computer. I just propeed my long arm cast on the desk with a shirt under it to angle it toward the keyboard and BADA BOOM – no problems getting work done!

      Good luck!

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Erin is your wrist back to where it was pre injury? I’m worried I’ll be worse off after surgery after reading what you went through. Am I better with completely torn ligament and no surgery and living with abit of pain and loss of movement or fixing it and having to go through surgery then weeks on a cast? Dr says surgery is only optio. As ligament is gone it’s
        been a while since I tore ligment. same as you had xray at time of injury dr said all good no break should be fine in afew days…Guess that wasn’t a specialist but still my arm bone was sticking out at v odd angle! think it would have been better to have
        broken it at least no surgery required.

        What was worst bit for you surgery or cast? Was it worth getting it fixed vs living with mostly functional but injured wrist?

  6. samantha says:

    hi erin,

    it was cool to read your post and learn about your story. i’m 23 and very active like yourself. i tore my right tfcc (almost a complete tendon tear from the bone.. oh and on my dominant hand of course) at the gym doing reverse preacher curls (so dumb i know…never again…grrr!!!) then further worsened it playing hockey the following day. this was back in november and it took them forever to figure out what it was. anyways, i just had surgery last week and i’m in a short soft half cast. originally i was going to be in a long cast but my surgeon changed his mind for some reason… i kind of wish he hadn’t because i keep tweaking it in the short cast trying to do too much. (i find it hard to slow down) after my surgery my pinky finger was really tight and i couldn’t straighten it until the 4th day i stretched it and it kind of popped and wasn’t tight anymore. i just hope that was something with my finger and not the metal spur in my wrist :O would it be that easy to pull out after a few days?

    anyways enough with my rambling i would like your opinion, originally my surgeon said i was going to be in a hard cast for 4 weeks after this one, but after surgery he told me he might just put me in a splint so i can remove it for physio. (he seems to change his mind a lot) i’m a pretty active person and and can be a bit reckless at times, so i’m wondering did you feel more confident and comfortable in a hard cast or a splint? cause i don’t want to have to go through a second surgery if i start getting cocky with the splint and overdo it and tear the damn thing again, lol. it seems that the cast would really make you slow down so there would be less chance of doing something stupid. when you re-tore yours, did it happen easily or did it really get forced hard to tear?

    thanks so much for your story and i’m looking forward to hearing from you (:

    • erinobrien26 says:

      Hi Sam,
      Thanks for the response. So I think I probably had a weird tear since it was my ligaments not the cartilage that tore. Because of that I had to be careful not to turn my wrist since the ligaments I had repaired support that motion. Anyways, I’m not sure which part of your TFCC tore, nor am I a doctor, so I’m not 100% sure what would call for a long arm cast/brace/splint and what wouldn’t. In my case I couldn’t turn my wrist because it would tear my ligaments again.

      As far as the anchor goes, I think it took a while for mine to come out. When I pulled it out it was a sudden very painful pop directly over my ulnar bone where the tear was mended. I’m fairly certain it had been slipping out for a while though. After it happened the anchor was a lot of pain in my wrist. I’m talking a 10 on a scale of 1-10 (and I have a very high pain tolerance).

      So as far as the cast vs splint thing goes I’ll tell you my experience with both and make a guess at why your doctor changed his mind. Again, I’m not doctor so I could be completely wrong. There are pluses and minuses to having a cast. Pluses: more protection, less likely to do anything stupid to cause a retear. Minuses: Not able to start mobilizing your wrist early. This could cause problems with tightness and weakness later. For the same reasons you explained it was better for me to have a cast – I’m reckless, I get cocky, I think my arm is better and start doing stupid stuff. However, I’m still dealing with my wrist being tight from the surgery so there’s that to consider also. This is something I talked to my doctor about before our second go-round. Also, personally I think the cast is more comfortable, but I didn’t have a lot of itchiness or anything so maybe I was lucky.

      Anyways, if I were you I’d talk to my doctor about it and explain that you don’t trust yourself in the splint and you’d prefer a cast. Worst case senario he’ll say “tough.” Best case scenario he might have something else that would give you more support but will still allow you to do PT while you’re recovering. Either way you have to remember your doctor’s not a mind reader; although it would be nice if he were! I totally understand your being worried about re-tears and all that. For some reason this injury has been the most pain in the ass of all the injuries I’ve ever had, and I’ve felt like I’ve had to really think outside the box in order to keep getting better. So strange for such a tiny area of the body, right?!

      Well good luck. I hope everything works out; and hang in there! Let me know if you have anymore questions.

      – Erin

      • samantha says:

        thanks for your reply erin, i feel a lot more confident in my recovery after reading your story/reply and knowing i’m not the only one that’s going or has gone through this. good luck to you too, i hope your wrist will get to 100% again (:

        you rock girl!

  7. nicole says:

    hello, I had my TFCC surgery 11 weeks ago. I’m so glade to find that you are climber. so am I. Now I feel bitter because my doctor told me that i should give up the climbing.It is not going happen. can I talk to you through Facebook?

  8. Marissa says:

    Hi Erin,

    I was doing a search for TFCC re-injury when your blog came up.

    Upon reading, I was quite shocked to read that you are also a rock climber (as am I).

    Lastly, I find it monstrously more bizarre to read about your overall ligament instability problems….and it makes me wonder if you have a form of Ehlers Danlos (as I am pretty sure I do).

    Could you please contact me via email? I am a rock climbing female with crappy ligaments who thinks she recently suffered a re-injury to her TFCC and wonders what is going to happen next for her climbing passion…..

    Thanks, Marissa

  9. Jmcguire75 says:

    Thanks for sharing, I just had open TFCC surgery 3 weeks ago. I’m currently in the lovely long cast…hoping my ancors hold and this is the last procedure. Hope you heal quickly. Nice to see someone with a positive outlook on the situation!

  10. Laura says:

    hey, thanks so much for this 🙂 it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who’s been through the whole saga. I tore my TFCC a year and 3 months ago (almost to the day) playing field hockey it’s been quite a journey I’m finally having surgery tomorrow I really couldn’t be more pleased. I’ve had several different diagnosis(? What is the plural of diagnosis I’ve never really thought about it) and I’ve been screwed around alot by doctors and only about six months ago I got re-diagnosed with a TFCC tear which was what they thought it was originally. I’d just started climbing at the time too which is really annoying I was really enjoying it and I’m itching to get back into it I can’t wait until this whole kerfunkle is over. Thanks for sharing I hope you have a smooth recovery this time 🙂

    • erinobrien26 says:

      Hey Laura,
      I hope your surgery went well. How’d you mess it up playing field hockey – good swift swing that slammed into the ground? I was in the same boat with climbing – I had just started (and was immediately addicted) a few months before I messed it up the first time. My biggest piece of advice with climbing is; when you get back, make sure you tape your wrist up (no matter how sturdy it feels)! I think that was my fatal mistake.

      I use Metolius rock climbing tape on my wrists. It’s a bit more expensive than tape you’d get at Rite Aid, but it’s stiffer and holds way better, which is definitely worth the extra money.

      Let me know if you have any questions as I think I’m a TFCC tear professional at this point. Good luck!

      P.S. I like your word choice with “kerfunkle.” I think I’ll start using that one 🙂


      • Laura says:

        Wahey. It’s been A while since I’ve commented on this. To be honest my surgery was kind of shocking. I was just having the debridement of the tear last time. That didn’t work and somehow the surgeon didn’t manage to notice the fact that my uilnar pretty much popped out of the joint. He said essentially that “The inside of your wrist looks like a baggy sock” so I had to have the ulnar shortening surgery -_- that was three months ago and I was put in a stupid long arm splint (which, being me, I probably took off far too often) for three months. I went back to the surgeon a couple of days ago and he took xrays and you could tell by the look on his face that I was screwed. It hasn’t healed, non-union of the ulnar. So back into the long arm cast it is for another six weeks in the hope that it’ll heal and I don’t need bone graft surgery (fingers crossed). Needless to say If I’m going to injure myself I’m going to do it thoroughly. It’s driving my nuts, It’s been two years, I haven’t climbed in approx. a year, I do YSAR Which it has somewhat impaired (but I do anyway the surgeon doesn’t know. I love it too much). But you know, such is life.

        Also, may I add that I enjoy reading your blog rediculously. I get quite excited when I open it up andd find there’s a new post 🙂

      • erinobrien26 says:

        Ugh that sounds like a nightmare! Seriously, I can’t imagine having my bone shaved down or however they do it! You poor thing. Ugh no climbing in a year? That sounds like the worst thing ever (we climbers really have our priorities straight, don’t we?). It’s times like this when I try to take a step back and look @ the bigger picture. Ok, so there are people out there starving and living in cardboard boxes. I’m all depressed b/c I can’t climb a rock or pull on some plastic. But seriously…no climbing for a year? That sucks majorly. And having your arm bone shaved down and then NOT healing sounds pretty damn awful no matter what kind of perspective you try to view it from! Well, in case you haven’t noticed I haven’t been blogging a lot lately. I can blame it on being busy with work, getting ready to start a new job and being on the verge of embarking on an amazingly awesome vacation (sorry I’m really excited)! Truth be told, I’ve been uninspired lately, but the thought of making your life a little better while you’re in such a crappy situation seems to have cured my writer’s block a bit, so I’ll try to get something good up there before I leave for vacation on Thursday!

  11. Amy says:

    Hey there, I recently had surgery on my hand and in a splint until I get my stitches out,be honest,how bad is the cast? I am dreading my appointment tomorrow to get it! Does it hurt when they put it on? Well I hoe you aren’t in too much pain,Amy

  12. Mommy says:

    That’s my baby! And yes, at two years of age she smashed off a plaster cast using only her highchair!

  13. Bobby says:

    erin. since when do you rock climb??? lol. apparently its been a while. i feel like you left out a few of your john carroll injuries though. i could be wrong.

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