Phalen's Test

Learn about Phalen's Test and how to perform it correctly. Plus, get a free PDF with detailed instructions and an example you can use as a reference.

By Ericka Pingol on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is a Phalen's Test?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common disorder that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. It occurs when the median nerve, one of the major nerves in the hand, becomes compressed or squeezed at the wrist. CTS is caused by various factors, including repetitive motions, genetics, pregnancy, and underlying medical conditions.

To help diagnose CTS, doctors may perform a. This simple physical exam evaluates the median nerve for signs of compression. Developed by American orthopedic surgeon George S. Phalen, this assessment tool has been used since the 1950s.

For the examination, the patient will be instructed to position their forearms on a flat surface, with their palms facing upwards towards the ceiling and their thumbs pointing in opposite directions. They will be asked to press their palms together for approximately one minute. During the test, the physician will observe any sensations of tingling, numbness, pain, or weakness in the relevant area.

Printable Phalen's Test

Download Phalen's Test to assess for carpal tunnel syndrome

How does this Phalen’s Test work?

This free Phalen's Test worksheet provides an easy-to-understand guide on how to perform the exam. Follow these steps to get started:

Step One: Access the free template

Download the free Phalen's Test using the link provided on this page. Similarly, you can access it using our resources library or the Carepatron app.

Step Two: Discuss the exam with your patient

Explain how the assessment works and why it's important. Ask your patient if they have any questions before you proceed.

Step Three: Conduct the assessment

Use the instructions provided on the form to administer the Phalen's Test. During the assessment, observe the patient for signs of tingling, numbness, or pain in their hand and arm.

Step Four: Record patient's results

Document your patient's results on the template. Be sure to include any positive or negative indicators observed.

Phalen's Test Interpretation

The Phalen's Test is considered positive if the patient experiences tingling, numbness, pain, or weakness during the assessment. This can indicate median nerve compression, a potential sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. 

If the patient does not experience any symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that CTS is ruled out. You may consider other factors, such as medical history, patient symptoms, and physical examination results.

Note that this exam should not be used as the sole diagnostic tool for CTS. Additional tests and assessments may be needed to determine an accurate diagnosis.

Phalen’s Test example (sample)

To help you understand the procedure, we have included a Phalen's Test example on this page. Feel free to use it as a reference when administering the assessment. You can view the sample here or download the PDF version.

Download the free Phalen’s Test example (sample)

Phalen’s Test example (sample)

When to use these Phalen assessments?

This free Phalen's Test is designed to help healthcare professionals quickly and efficiently evaluate patients for potential carpal tunnel syndrome. You can perform this test to:

Evaluate the median nerve for signs of compression

You can administer the Phalen's Test to assess the patient's median nerve for any evidence of compression. This can help you determine if they are at risk for CTS or other nerve-related conditions.

Eliminate the need for costly imaging tests

This simple physical assessment can rule out CTS before you move on to other tests, such as X-rays or MRIs. This can help you save time and money while ensuring your patient receives the best care possible.

Support an accurate diagnosis

Combining the results of this assessment with other tests and exams can be used to support a more accurate diagnosis. This holistic approach enhances the overall diagnostic process and assists in providing optimal medical care.

Reassess the effectiveness of treatment

You can also use this test to assess the effectiveness of any treatments prescribed for CTS. By administering the exam periodically, you can gain insight into your treatment plan's success and make any necessary adjustments.

Benefits of these free Phalen’s Test Templates

These free Phalen's Test templates have several advantages, including the following:

It's comprehensive yet simple

The template covers all the key components of a successful Phalen's Test while being easy enough to understand and use. You can perform the test within minutes and get accurate results you can use as part of a diagnosis.

It's free to download and use

You don't need to pay anything to access this Phalen's Test template. All you have to do is download the PDF, and you're good to go. It's also fully digital, so you don't need to worry about printing a hard copy.

It's backed by research and studies

The Phalen's Test is a well-known assessment that numerous research studies have backed. This means you can ensure its accuracy and reliability in assessing CTS.

It can help patients get the proper treatment

By administering this test, you can ensure your patients get the proper care. You can quickly and accurately assess them for CTS and determine the best action.

Why use this Phalen’s Test app?

Running a bustling physical therapy practice can feel overwhelming. That's why we developed Carepatron, a comprehensive innovation solution to streamline all your practice management woes.

Our software is designed to make the entire process easier and more organized, from appointment scheduling and payment processing to patient engagement activities and reporting. You can also quickly view patient information and histories to better understand their needs. Plus, it makes the billing process easier and more efficient with automated billing, payment processing, and even electronic claims filing.

Carepatron has an extremely user-friendly user interface to ensure that even the most tech-averse users can easily navigate and find what they're looking for. We also provide cloud-based storage so that all your data is securely hosted and accessible from any device.

Trusted by over 10,000 healthcare professionals, Carepatron has become the go-to choice for managing physical therapy practices. Get started with Carepatron today and take your practice to great new heights!

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Who created the Phalen’s Test?
Who created the Phalen’s Test?

Commonly asked questions

Who created the Phalen’s Test?

The Phalen's Test was developed by George S. Phalen, an American orthopedic surgeon and professor, in the 1950s. He initially used the assessment to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome in patients, but it has since been adapted for use with other nerve-related conditions.

What are the benefits of the Phalen’s Test?

The Phalen's Test can evaluate the median nerve for signs of compression and rule out carpal tunnel syndrome. It can also be used to accurately diagnose other nerve-related conditions and assess the effectiveness of treatments.

What is the Phalen’s Test used for?

The Phalen's Test is used to evaluate the median nerve for signs of compression and determine whether a patient has carpal tunnel syndrome or other nerve-related issues.

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