The Phalen’s Test is a wrist examination procedure that identifies the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome. This test is known as the most provocative test for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed at the wrist. There is pain and tingling of the fingers and hands and a feeling of numbness. Pain is also present along the wrist.
The patient should be awake and cooperative during Phalen’s Test.
- Patient may be seated or standing during the procedure.
- Tell the patient to place the backs of his hands together in front of her body. Both wrists are completely flexed. The patient has to remain in this position for at least a minute.
- Watch out for any complaints of pain along the wrist and the hands.
The examiner may also hold the affected wrist in a sustained flexed position for a minute.
Positive Phalen’s Test
There is positive Phalen’s Test when there is numbness or tingling along the distribution of the median nerve. Pain along the anterior part of the wrist or subsequent weakness of the thumb position may also be a positive sign. These signs indicate the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome.
To further examine any tightness or reduced range of motion, the examiner could further stretch the finger flexors. The patient keeps the fingers together and pushes into hyperextension. The test may be repeated for both hands.