Tinel’s test is a medical exam used to diagnose nerve damage. The test is performed by lightly tapping on the skin over the affected nerve. If there is damage to the nerve, the patient will feel a tingling sensation or “pins and needles.”
The test is considered positive if the tingling sensation spreads beyond the site of stimulation. For example, if the test is being performed on the tibial nerve at the ankle, a positive result would be to the bottom of the foot and toes.
What Does a Positive Result Mean?
A positive result on Tinel’s test indicates that there is damage to the nerve. This damage can be caused by compression (such as from a cast), entrapment (such as from tarsal tunnel syndrome), or inflammation (such as from rheumatoid arthritis).
Tinel’s test is a simple yet effective way to diagnose nerve damage. If you have sustained an injury to your arm or leg, be sure to ask your doctor if Tinel’s test is right for you.
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