The diagnostic value of body temperature has been known for centuries. Disorders such as encephalitis (symptoms: fever, tremor, seizures, confusion, delirium, anxiety and vomiting) were even described by Hippocrates and Galenos in ancient Greece. Body temperatures that are too high or too low affect metabolism, metabolic processes and organ function and can even damage tissue.
Conclusion: Infrared thermography provides us in our orthopaedic and sports medicine practice with a complementary imaging procedure that is fast, non-invasive, painless, objective and above all radiation-free. The colour-coded visualisation of slight differences in skin temperature and the specialist Thermohuman software (camera: X4VIson by HT ITALIA SRL) allow assessment of thermographic images that is easily standardised. In an online article in the sportärztezeitung, the sports scientist Kornelius Kraus MD wrote about his many years of experience in infrared thermography as an assessment method for sports medicine and performance physiology (link). This included the finding that pain correlates with coordination deficits and that the ability to relax was poorer in the warmer hamstrings (Kraus 2019). To date, the diagnostic interpretation of the images depends to a great extent on the investigator and requires experience. In our view, infrared thermography has the potential of becoming a valuable and innovative complementary imaging procedure in orthopaedics and sports medicine alongside established diagnostic procedures such as ultrasound, MRI and electromyography. To date, there have been no randomised prospective studies comparing the informative value of this procedure with that of other imaging procedures. Well-designed studies are required to further investigate the value of this imaging procedure in musculoskeletal diagnostics.