Photograph my polio leg with a thermal infrared camera

I recently had the opportunity to photograph my polio leg with a thermal infrared camera. This technology was developed by the military to search out warm bodies hidden in the Vietnam rainforest. I don?t know what companies use it for, but they were showing off the technology at a conference and I was able to use it to see that my exercising is working.

I had polio in 1946, and lost the use of the left calf (gastrocnemius) muscle. I was falling down and decided to attack the problem of having no obvious muscles in the skinny left leg. The trainer at my gym put me on an exercise regime for the three lower leg muscles – gastroc, soleus and anterior tibialis. I was able to watch the development of the soleus because it began to bulge. I couldn’t see any change in the anterior tibialis, so I went to an acupuncture specialist, who worked on the three muscles. I can now feel the presence of an anterior tibialis. I have had no luck with the gastroc.

The thermal infrared images confirm my analyses. On these, each color box at the bottom is 1 degree C. The good leg shows the red and yellow of a fully functioning (nice warm) vascular system. The polio leg is blue – which is the color of a cold body. The soleus is light green, which means it is actually warmer and vascularized. The anterior tibialis is a dark green, which means it is alive. The gastroc is blue, darn it, none of these efforts have rebuilt any functioning in the cold calf muscle.

Norrie, Las Mesa, California,