Comparing thermal discomfort with skin temperature response of lower-limb prosthesis users during exercise

Laura E. Diment, Mark S. Thompson, Jeroen H.M. Bergmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Thermal discomfort is prevalent among prosthesis users. This observational study of thirty unilateral lower-limb prosthesis users compared their skin temperatures and the thermal discomfort experienced during exercise between their residual and contralateral limbs. Methods: Participants performed a 2-minute interval cycling exercise test. Skin temperature was measured at matched locations on each leg during the 1-minute rest intervals. Average rate-of-change in skin temperature was compared between legs using a repeated measures analysis of variance. Participants rated thermal discomfort on each leg before and after exercise, and a Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare legs. Ordinal regression evaluated the relationship between the rate-of-change in temperature on the residual limb and the perceived thermal discomfort. Findings: After exercise, thermal discomfort ranked higher on the amputated side (P = 0.007). On average, both legs cooled during exercise (P = 0.002), but the difference between legs was not significant. The rate-of change in skin temperature on the residual limb during exercise did not relate to the thermal discomfort experienced (odds ratio of 0.357). Interpretation: These findings indicate that in this patient population, skin temperature does not explain the thermal discomfort experienced, and subjective thermal discomfort is inadequate for detecting thermoregulatory issues, with potential implications for long-term tissue health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-155
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • thermal discomfort
  • Lower-limb prosthesis
  • Skin temperature
  • intermittent exercise
  • exercise


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