Evaluation of muscle fatigue using infrared thermal imaging technique with assisted electromyography


  • Nursyazana Ridzuan Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Aizreena Azaman Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Soeed K Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Izwyn Zulkapri Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Asnida Abd Wahab Universiti Teknologi Malaysia




Muscle fatigue, thermal imaging, muscle injury, thermoregulation


Muscle fatigue in sports science is an established research area where various techniques and types of muscles have been studied in order to understand the fatigue condition. It can be used as an indicator for predicting muscle injury and other muscle problems which can decrease athletes’ performance. Muscle fatigue usually occurs after a long lasting or repeated muscular activity. Electromyography (EMG) assessment method is a standard tool used to evaluate muscle fatigue based on the signals from the neuromuscular activation during fatigue condition. However, additional time for equipment set up such as placement of the electrodes and the use of multiple wires make this overall setting a bit complicated. In addition, the signal from EMG which possessed some noise, need to be filtered and post processing time is also required to obtain a reliable measurement signal. Therefore, researchers have explored the application of thermal imaging technique as one of the alternative methods for muscle fatigue assessment. The objective of this study is to investigate the correlation of muscle fatigue condition measured using a non-invasive infrared thermal imaging technique and a standard evaluation method, EMG. Five healthy men were selected to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes with a constant speed setting. Temperature and EMG signals were registered from gastrocnemius muscle of the subjects' dominant leg simultaneously. Result obtained shows that the average temperature of gastrocnemius muscle decrease as subjects start to exercise. Further temperature decrease along with exercise and increase in temperature were observed during the recovery period. Statistical analysis was performed and analyzed using both temperature and EMG parameters. Result shows a significant strong correlation with r = 0.7707 and p < 0.05 between temperature difference and median frequency (MDF) for all subjects compared to average temperature. Therefore, it is concluded that temperature difference extracted from thermal images can be used as an ideal parameter for muscle fatigue evaluation.  


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