Ambulatory foot temperature measurement: a new technique in polyneuropathy evaluation

Muscle Nerve. 2003 Jun;27(6):737-42. doi: 10.1002/mus.10379.


Complaints of abnormal foot temperature are common among patients with polyneuropathy. However, there is no published method of ambulatory foot temperature measurement to identify possible thermoregulatory disturbances in these patients. We configured a digital electronic thermometer and thermocouple to measure and record distal foot and ambient temperatures simultaneously every minute for 24 to 48 h. Sixteen patients with polyneuropathy and 5 normal subjects were studied; 12 patients with polyneuropathy and 4 normal subjects had at least 24 h of successful recording. The data obtained from these patients were consistent and easily summarized by standard statistical methods. In the others, technical difficulties produced nonphysiological readings. In the patients with polyneuropathy, changes in foot temperature mirrored ambient temperature fluctuations more closely than in normal subjects. This technique shows promise in studying temperature regulation in the feet and may provide new insights into neuropathy-associated pain and the pathogenesis of polyneuropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electrophysiology
  • Foot / blood supply
  • Foot / innervation
  • Foot / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology*
  • Polyneuropathies / diagnosis*
  • Polyneuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Skin Temperature / physiology*
  • Thermometers
  • Walking / physiology