Sports medicine must provide high quality care for athletes, and a modern approach for identifying risk factors and injury prevention should be of primary importance ((Bruckner and Khan 2006). Athletes are exposed to great physical stress in training and during competition. Overuse reactions are frequent; therefore, their early detection is important. Furthermore, early detection and localisation of inflammation is a critical step in determining the appropriate treatment. Inflammation will usually cause a localised increase in skin temperature, thereby disturbing the “normal” symmetry. Nerve damage or disturbances to the autonomic nervous system may also cause a change and may lead to localised cooling of the affected area. Because this is a remote sensing technique, it is possible to monitor body surface temperature during and after movement and thereby detect changes in skin temperature caused by the exercise or therapy (Ring and Ammer, 1998), Hardaker et al., 2007). Within the field of sports medicine, long-time sports specificl changes in physiology and therefore thermalregulatory processes, as well as changes in anatomy such as muscle structures needs to be considered.
A thermogram represents the human skin temperature profile illustrated by a color spectrum. However, false colors do not necessarily represent a particular temperature. To standardize the analyses of medical thermograms used for fever detection, the International Standards Organization (ISO) recommended the use of the “rainbow” temperature scale (Figure 3a) that represents high temperatures with red colors and low temperature with blue colors. To visualize differences within similar tissues or structures, the “rainbow strong-contrast” scale can also be used (Figure 3b). When focusing on the vascular system, a gray color scale is preferred (Figure 3c).
b. “rainbow strong-contrast”
c. “gray color”