Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a form of
ringworm. Ringworm is not a worm at all. It is a
fungal infection of the outer layers of skin, hair, or
nails. Fungi (plural of fungus) are present everywhere in our
Ringworm of the skin appears as a rash with patches
that may be red or peeling or that have bumps on the edges that look like
blisters. The skin often is itchy, and the rash can spread quickly. You can
have both jock itch and athlete's foot (tinea pedis) at the same time.
As a child, I never would have guessed I'd one day be paid to type the phrase "jock itch."
Actually, I'm sort of surprised now as an adult to find that jock itch, and its southerly cousin athlete's foot, still exist. There's something sort of quaint about these and other minor locker room infections — they seem to belong in the moldering realm of short shorts and tube socks that marked our fathers' Saturday mornings at the Y. Surely today's athletes, with their x-treme cross trainers and x-treme...
Jock itch is
caused by a fungus. Fungi commonly grow on or in the top layer of skin. They
may or may not cause an infection. Fungi grow best in warm, moist areas of the
body such as the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks.
As the name
suggests, jock itch mostly affects male athletes, but anyone can get it. Using
public showers and locker rooms increases your chances of getting jock itch.
Fungi grow best in the steamy rooms among damp towels, sweaty workout clothes,
and wet floors. So it's not surprising that jock itch and athlete's foot often
occur at the same time, since both are caused by fungi.
What are the symptoms of jock itch?
jock itch include the following:
Itching and pain are common.
is on the groin, skin folds, inner thighs, or buttocks. The rash usually does
not occur on the scrotum or penis.
The edge of the rash is very
distinct and may be scaly or have bumps that look like
The center of the rash may have a red-brown color.
How is jock itch diagnosed?
Jock itch is annoying, but it usually is not serious. If you have had
jock itch in the past, you may recognize the symptoms. Your doctor can tell if
you have jock itch after asking questions about your symptoms and past health
and by looking at your rash. Your doctor may scrape a little of the rash on a
glass slide so that he or she can look at it under a microscope.