Assessing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Phalen’s and Tinel’s Tests’ Diagnostic Accuracy

Procedure Information

February’s Five Minute Assessment Assistant

Sensitivity and Specificity of Phalen’s Test
and Tinel’s Test in Patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 



Prospective study to determine the specificity and sensitivity of Phalen’s test and Tinel’s sign during investigation of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).



One hundred patients with CTS and one hundred controls who were collected among asymptomatic volunteers who had no hand symptoms were included.



Tinels’ Sign
Specificity: 0.94
Sensitivity: 0.66

Phalen’s tets
Specificity: 0.94
Sensitivity 0.78



The high specificity of Phalen’s helps confirm a diagnosis of CTS against competing differential diagnoses such as Cervical Radiculopathy or other nerve entrapment syndromes. Best to use both tests, especially to rule CTS out.



Think of a ‘reverse prayer’ position . Have the patient fully flex their wrists by placing dorsal surfaces of both hands against each other with wrists flexed for one minute. A positive test is when symptoms (numbness, tingling, pain) are reproduced.

Hope this helps! Looking forward to seeing you soon!


Michael Rafla
Australian Sports Physiotherapy
Ivanhoe, Heidelberg, Coburg, Northcote, Carlton North
0431 271 714


Brüske J, Bednarski M, Grzelec H, Zyluk A. The usefulness of the Phalen test and the Hoffmann-Tinel sign in the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. Acta Orthop Belg. 2002 Apr;68(2):141-5. PMID: 12050999.

Seeking Physio Guidance?
Request a Call Back Today!

Wondering if physiotherapy is right for you? No worries – we’re here to assist. Just leave your Full Name and Contact Number below, and one of our physiotherapists will get in touch to chat about your concerns and offer professional insights to put your mind at ease.