JC's Musings

Infrared thermography (IRT) in Rehab and Performance

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Infrared thermography (IRT) in Rehab and Performance

Have you heard of IRT? A couple years back when visiting Texas, I came across Skylar Richards the then sport scientist with FC Dallas, who showed me how he was using this technology to provide insight into injury risk and quality of recovery strategies. I found it fascinating, and am wondering if many of you use it?

So what is IRT? It is a non-invasive way to measure surface skin temperature/radiation using these special infra-red cameras, as shown on the slide. In a sport science context, these heat signatures or temperature patterns have been used to detect inflammation and or injury, a typical heat classification-injury scale shown.

By taking IRT photos at the end of matches, in combination with other data sets allowed Skylar to develop insights into risk of injury and effects of chronic inflammation “hot spots” that could lead to more serious issues. Much of his post-match recovery strategies were used for “putting out these fires” by dampening the red spots in their recovery lab and/or at home. For example, the left hamstrings would have been a focus given the imagery on the slide.