We present a simple provocative diagnostic office test for detection of triangular fibrocartilage complex tears of the wrist. Twenty-seven patients with a working diagnosis of a triangular fibrocartilage complex tear complained of wrist pain caused by forceful use; 18 had a history of trauma. A 'press test' was performed in each, requiring the seated patient to push the body weight up off a chair using the affected wrist, creating an axial ulnar load. A positive test provoked focal ulnar wrist pain replicating the discomfort that had prompted the patient to seek medical attention. Thirteen patients improved with conservative treatment. Seventeen underwent magnetic resonance imaging (showing 13 tears and 4 normal results) and two patients had arthrograms (both had tears). Fourteen patients had wrist arthroscopy; all had triangular fibrocartilage complex tears, which were debrided, with postoperative clinical improvement. As verified by arthroscopy, the press test had 100% sensitivity in preoperative tear detection compared with 79% for magnetic resonance imaging. The press test is recommended as a useful, free, noninvasive clinical test for triangular fibrocartilage complex tears of the wrist.
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