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Tinel test - predictive value

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Tinel's test is a sign of nerve recovery. In this test, if the site of the nerve injury is tapped then there is tingling along the course of the nerve.

This test can also be used in the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. In this instance tapping over the carpal tunnel causes tingling in the thumb and radial two and a half fingers. If the carpal tunnel syndrome is suspected then carry out the wrist flexion test.

A positive Tinel's sign or Phalen's sign has a positive predictive value of approximately 0.50 and a negative predictive value of approximately 0.70 for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Note in pronator syndrome:

  • Tinel's test at the wrist should be negative but positive over the proximal forearm


  • Reference:
    • Katz et. al., 'The carpal tunnel syndrome: diagnostic utility of the history and physical examination findings'. Ann. Inter. Med., (1990), 112: 321.

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