The temperature of internal body vs skin (Vasc Exam)

The five cardinal signs of inflammation include pain, redness, swelling, loss of function, and heat. Normal skin temperature is typically about 91 degrees Fahrenheit, comparing results with the contralateral extremity is important in order to assess what a normal skin temperature for a specific patient should be. If an area of concern is noted to be hotter than that of normal skin, then it is indicative of a pre-ulcerative or ulcer lesion. The study found the skin temperature gradient to be an average of 6.9 degrees Fahrenheit greater on ulcerative skin relative to skin on the contralateral limb. Conversely, if an area of concern is seen to be cooler than that of normal skin, it is indicative of poor blood flow, possibly due to peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

Houghton VJ, Bower VM, Chant DC. Is an increase in skin temperature predictive of neuropathic foot ulceration in people with diabetes? A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Foot Ankle Res. 2013;6(1):31. Published 2013 Aug 7. doi:10.1186/1757-1146-6-31