Infrared thermography, a fast, non-invasive and objective skin temperature measurement technology, can provide information about the physiology status from a subject and his different body regions and structures (Vainer, 2009)
Technological advances in infrared cameras have allowed for a resurgence of investigation in the sport sector, enhancing new and old applications, such as the following: clothing design, detection of lactate threshold, DOMS, biomechanical imbalances or fitness condition, among others (Fernández Cuevas et al., 2017)
Nevertheless, there are three of them that are closely related to concept of injury:
- Before: Prevention. Thermal asymmetries on regions of interest (ROIs) could show a potential injury risk due to factors related to workload assimilation, biomechanics, tissue physiology and nerve dysfunction. Once we detect them we can easily intervent to reduce the thermal asymmetry (Corte et al, 2019)
- During: Diagnosis support. Infrared Thermography should not be used as a diagnosis tool standalone, but it can help identifying injury type based on thermal behaviour. Based on the injury type the skin thermal reaction can be hypo or hyperthermia (Sillero quintana, 2015)
- After: injury follow-up. Some of those thermal asymmetries last during the recovery time. If we quantify them we will be able to check the right evolution, speed up recovery time and objectify return to play decisions. Besides, we can avoid collateral injury risk due to potential compensation (Piñonosa et al., 2013)
Côrte, A. C., Pedrinelli, A., Marttos, A., Souza, I. F. G., Grava, J., & José Hernandez, A. (2019). Infrared thermography study as a complementary method of screening and prevention of muscle injuries: pilot study. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 5(1), e000431. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000431
Fernández-Cuevas, I., Arnáiz Lastras, J., Escamilla Galindo, V., & Gómez Carmona, P. (2017). Infrared Thermography for the Detection of Injury in Sports Medicine. In J. I. Priego Quesada (Ed.), Application of Infrared Thermography in Sports Science (pp. 81-109). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
Fernández-Cuevas, I. (2019). Aplicación de la termografнa infrarroja para la prevención, seguimiento de lesiones y apoyo al diagnóstico en el deporte y la salud. Paper presented at the 15º Congreso Internacional de Ciencias del Deporte y la Salud, Pontevedra, Spain.
Piñonosa, S., Sillero-Quintana, M., Milanović, L., Coterón, J., & Sampedro, J. (2013). Thermal evolution of lower limbs during a rehabilitation process after anterior cruciate ligament surgery. Kinesiology, 45(1), 121-129.
Vainer, B. G. (2009). The use of infrared thermography for the investigation of thermoregulation in humans. In A. B. Cisneros & B. L. Goins (Eds.), Body temperature regulation (pp. 123-153): Nova Science Publishers, Inc.