Ringworm of the Skin - Topic Overview
This topic is about ringworm of the skin, groin, or hands. For information about other fungal infections, see the topics:
Ringworm of the skin is an infection caused by a fungus.
Jock itch is a form of ringworm that causes an itchy rash on the skin of your groin area. It is much more common in men than in women. Jock itch may be caused by the spread of athlete's foot fungus to the groin.
Ringworm is not caused by a worm. It is caused by a fungus. The kinds of fungi (plural of fungus) that cause ringworm live and spread on the top layer of the skin and on the hair. They grow best in warm, moist areas, such as locker rooms and swimming pools, and in skin folds.
Ringworm is contagious. It spreads when you have skin-to-skin contact with a person or animal that has it. It can also spread when you share things like towels, clothing, or sports gear.
You can also get ringworm by touching an infected dog or cat, although this form of ringworm is not common.
Ringworm of the skin usually causes a very itchy rash. It often makes a pattern in the shape of a ring, but not always. Sometimes it is just a red, itchy rash.
Jock itch is a rash in the skin folds of the groin. It may also spread to the inner thighs or buttocks.
Ringworm of the hand looks like athlete's foot. The skin on the palm of the hand gets thick, dry, and scaly. And skin between the fingers may be moist and have open sores.
If you have a ring-shaped rash, you very likely have ringworm. Your doctor will be able to tell for sure. He or she will probably look at a scraping from the rash under a microscope to check for the ringworm fungus.