Demystifying Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition caused by compression of the hand’s median nerve, affects millions of Americans every year. This includes people from all walks of life who use their hands, such as dental hygienists, carpenters, writers and hair stylists. Despite its prevalence, there are many myths and misunderstandings about the condition.

Dr. Craig Rodner, a hand specialist with the Health Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the New England Musculoskeletal Institute, dispels some of those myths.

Myth: If your wrist hurts, it must be carpal tunnel syndrome

Not all wrist pain is caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, he stressed. The best way to determine the cause of persistent wrist pain is to see an orthopaedic specialist who can accurately diagnose and treat the problem.

Myth: Typing is the culprit

“Not all cases of carpal tunnel syndrome are caused by typing. Instead, the condition can be caused by anything that puts the wrist in a flexed position for prolonged periods of time,” Rodner says.

Myth: You will need surgery

Rodner notes that not all cases of carpal tunnel syndrome require surgery. “Non-operative treatments are the hallmark,” he explains, stressing that approaches such as splinting are always the first line of treatment. However, when surgery is needed the success rates are generally very high, he says.

Rodner sees patients in Farmington, Avon and East Hartford. He is a graduate of the UConn School of Medicine and it’s residency program in orthopaedic surgery. His fellowship training in hand and upper extremity surgery was at Brown University School of Medicine/Rhode Island Hospital. To learn more, visit

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