Thermal response of hands to computer work: comparison of three assessment procedures

Jan Horáček, Jan Novotný


Introduction: Unlike other imaging modalities thermography is absolutely non-invasive and suitable to assess functional changes. However in some fields, methodology for its use has not even been set yet. This work compares three different methods to study the dynamics of skin temperature changes in hands during computer work. Methods: A total of 306 measurements of 20 office employees and 6 non-office employees was performed with a thermographic camera during a work shift. The thermograms were subsequently evaluated and three methodologies - regions of interest, two of them newly proposed - were compared mathematically. Also, two more have been taken into consideration. Results: The results shown the same tendencies of thermal changes comparing our methodologies with the methodology used earlier in more than 80% (88 % in case of the first method, named H2 method and 85 % in case of the second one, named H5). However, in comparison to older procedure, our procedures shown higher sensitivity to temperature changes in more than 60% of cases (61 % in case of the first method and 68 % in case of the second one). We measured a variation range difference of 1.6 °C, and, with the second method, whole 2.1 °C compared to method used earlier. Conclusion: This work has determined a new procedure for measuring of dynamics of hands temperature changes, which is not only easier and faster to perform and evaluate, but it is also more capable of detecting temperature changes on hands.


hands, thermography methods, computer work

Full Text:


Show references Hide references

Ammer, K. (2008). The Glamorgan Protocol for recording and evaluation of thermal images of the human body (Vol. 18).

Ammer, K., & Ring, E. F. (2013). Standard Procedures for Infrared Imaging in Medicine. In Medical infrared imaging: principles and practices. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

Andersen, J. H., Haahr, J. P., & Frost, P. (2007). Risk factors for more severe regional musculoskeletal symptoms: a two-year prospective study of a general working population. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 56(4), 1355–1364.

Gerr, F., Monteilh, C. P., & Marcus, M. (2006). Keyboard use and musculoskeletal outcomes among computer users. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 16(3), 265–277.

Gold, J. E. (2002). Indicators of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders: Digital vibration threshold testing and infrared thermography. University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Gold, J. E., Cherniack, M., & Buchholz, B. (2004). Infrared thermography for examination of skin temperature in the dorsal hand of office workers. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 93(1–2), 245–251.

Gold, J. E., Cherniack, M., Hanlon, A., Dennerlein, J. T., & Dropkin, J. (2009). Skin temperature in the dorsal hand of office workers and severity of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 82(10), 1281–1292.

Gold, J. E., Cherniack, M., Hanlon, A., & Soller, B. (2010). Skin temperature and muscle blood volume changes in the hand after typing. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 40(2), 161–164.

Horáček, J., & Novotný, J. (2017). How hard is work with personal computer and how to measure it - Thermographic methods. Not new, but still just promising. Presented at the 11th International Conference on Kinanthropology ‘Sport and Quality of Life’, Brno: Faculty of Sports Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.

Mercer, J., & Weerd L, de. (2005). The effect of water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) irradiation on skin temperature and skin blood flow as evaluated by infrared thermography and scanning laser Doppler imaging (Vol. 15).

Moreira, D. G., Costello, J. T., Brito, C. J., Adamczyk, J. G., Ammer, K., Bach, A. J. E., … Sillero-Quintana, M. (2017). Thermographic imaging in sports and exercise medicine: A Delphi study and consensus statement on the measurement of human skin temperature. Journal of Thermal Biology, 69, 155–162.

Novotný, J. (2009). Využití termografie pro sportovce. Studia sportiva, 3(1).

Reste, J., Zvagule, T., Kurjane, N., Martinsone, Z., Martinsone, I., Seile, A., & Vanadzins, I. (2015). Wrist Hypothermia Related to Continuous Work with a Computer Mouse: A Digital Infrared Imaging Pilot Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(8), 9265–9281.

Ring, E. F. (1990). Quantitative thermal imaging. Clinical Physics and Physiological Measurement: An Official Journal of the Hospital Physicists’ Association, 11 Suppl A, 87–95.

Ring, E. F. J., & Ammer, K. (2000). The Technique of Infra red Imaging in Medicine (Vol. 10).

Ring, E. F. J., & Ammer, K. (2012). Infrared thermal imaging in medicine. Physiological Measurement, 33(3), R33-46.

Ring, F., & Ammer, K. (2006). Thermal Imaging in Diseases of the Skeletal and Neuromuscular Systems. In Medical Devices and Systems (Vols 1–3, pp. 31-1-31–15). CRC Press.

Seixas, A., & Rodrigues, S. (2016). Dynamics of skin surface temperature in the hand after computer work: A review. In Occupational Safety and Hygiene IV (Vols 1–0, pp. 287–291). CRC Press.

Seixas, A., Vardasca, R., Gabriel, J., & Vilas-Boas, J. (2014). Recent application of infrared thermography in work-related musculoskeletal disorders. In P. Arezes, J. Baptista, M. Barroso, P. Carneiro, P. Cordeiro, N. Costa, … G. Perestrelo (Eds.), Occupational Safety and Hygiene II (pp. 737–741). CRC Press.

Sharma, S. D., Smith, E. M., Hazleman, B. L., & Jenner, J. R. (1997). Thermographic changes in keyboard operators with chronic forearm pain. BMJ : British Medical Journal, 314(7074), 118.

Stansberry, K. B., Peppard, H. R., Babyak, L. M., Popp, G., McNitt, P., & Vinik, A. (1999). Primary nociceptive afferents mediate the blood flow dysfunction in non-glabrous (hairy) skin of type 2 diabetes: A new model for the pathogenesis of microvascular dysfunction. Diabetes Care; Alexandria, 22(9), 1549–1554.

Ústav zdravotnických informací a statistiky ČR. (2017). Ukončené případy pracovní neschopnosti pro nemoc a úraz 2016.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.