Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 469 - 477

Research article
Thermal Infrared Imaging Can Differentiate Skin Temperature Changes Associated With Intense Single Leg Exercise, But Not With Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness
Ian B. Stewart1, , Peyman Moghadam2, David N. Borg1,3, Terry Kung2, Pavan Sikka2, Geoffrey M. Minett1
Author Information
1 Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
2 Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Data61, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
3 The Hopkins Centre, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Ian B. Stewart
✉ 60 Musk Ave, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland 4059, Australia
Email: i.stewart@qut.edu.au
Publish Date
Received: 11-02-2020
Accepted: 28-04-2020
Published (online): 13-08-2020
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ABSTRACT

Muscle damage and soreness associated with increased exercise training loads or unaccustomed activity can be debilitating and impact the quality of subsequent activity/performance. Current techniques to assess muscle soreness are either time consuming, invasive or subjective. Infrared thermography has been identified as a quick, non-invasive, portable and athlete friendly method of assessing skin temperature. This study assessed the capability of thermal infrared imaging to detect skin temperature changes that may accompany the inflammatory response associated with delayed onset muscular soreness (DOMS). Eight recreationally trained participants (age 25 ± 3 years, mass 74.9 ± 13.6 kg, training minutes 296 ± 175 min·wk-1) completed 6 sets of 25 maximal concentric/eccentric contractions of the right knee flexors/extensors on a dynamometer to induce muscle damage and DOMS. The left knee extensors acted as a non-exercise control. Neuromuscular performance, subjective pain assessment and infrared thermography were undertaken at baseline, 24 and 48 hr post the DOMS-inducing exercise protocol. Data were analysed using Bayesian hierarchical regression and Cohen’s d was also calculated. Maximal voluntary contraction torque was statistically lower at 24 hr (d = -0.70) and 48 hr (d = -0.52) compared to baseline, after the DOMS-inducing exercise protocol. These neuromuscular impairments coincided with statistically higher ratings of muscle soreness at 24 hr (d = 0.96) and 48 hr (d = 0.48). After adjusting for ambient temperature, anterior thigh skin temperature was statistically elevated at 24 hr, but not 48 hr, compared with baseline, in both the exercised and non-exercised leg. Thigh temperature was not different statistically between legs at these time points. Infrared imaging was able to detect elevations in skin temperature, at 24 hrs after the DOMS inducing exercise protocol, in both the exercised and non-exercised thigh. Elevations in the skin temperature of both thighs, potentially identifies a systemic inflammatory response occurring at 24 hr after the DOMS-inducing exercise protocol.

Key words: Infrared thermal imaging, skin temperature, muscle damage, muscle soreness


           Key Points
  • Infrared imaging detected elevations in skin temperature 24 h following a single leg DOMS inducing exercise protocol.
  • Skin temperature elevations 24 h post-exercise were detected in both the exercised and non-exercised (control) thighs.
  • The exercised thigh exhibited elevations in skin temperature during the exercise protocol that were mirrored by reductions in skin temperature in the control thigh.
 
 
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