Publication Details

Taylor, N. A.S.., Machado-Moreira, C., van den Heuvel, A., Caldwell, J., Taylor, E. A.. & Tipton, M. J.. The roles of hands and feet in temperature regulation in hot and cold environments. Thirteenth International Conference on Environmental Ergonomics; Boston, USA: University of Wollongong; 2009. 405-409.


In this paper, we briefly review the physiological and biophysical characteristics of the hands and feet, and their association with autonomic (physiological) and behavioural temperature regulation, and with thermal injury. A comprehensive review of this topic is not currently available within the literature. The temperatures of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, particularly those of the hands and feet, vary significantly as air temperatures move away from the thermal comfort zone. Mean skin temperature increases approximately 0.7oC for each 1oC elevation in air temperature, with smaller changes at the hands (0.46o.oC-1) and slightly larger changes at the feet (0.8o.oC-1: Bedford, 1936). These variations reflect local differences in metabolic rate, convective heat delivery (mass flow) and thermal exchanges with the thermal environment.