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Tinea cruris is commonly known as “Jock Itch.” This is a round, itchy, red fungal infection of the upper thighs in the area typically covered by underwear briefs. It can occur due to moisture from sweating, dirty clothing and close contact between athletes. Jock Itch is most commonly seen in young male athletes.


Athletes are at a high risk for Jock Itch due to the wet environment created by their athletic wear and uniforms that cover the groin. This rash is typically itchy, red and sometimes in round blotches. It is typically found on the upper thigh of the groin, but not on the scrotum or penis. An athlete may be at high risk for Jock Itch if wearing wet clothes for a long period of time after sweating, when failing to wash exercise clothes daily or when not showering immediately after working out. Contact with teammates who have a similar infection that is not properly covered or treated is also a risk for Jock Itch.

Sports Medicine Evaluation & Treatment

An athlete who discovers a rash that could be Jock Itch should notify a team physician or athletic trainer immediately. Skin infections in athletes, like Jock Itch, can spread quickly amongst teammates, so it is important to have it evaluated. When seen by a physician, the athlete should expect that the doctor will need to look at the rash. Jock Itch occurs in a sensitive region, so the physician will likely also have a chaperone in the room to ensure the athlete’s comfort and safety during the exam. Most of the time, Jock Itch can be diagnosed by the doctor examining it. Sometimes, the physician may scrape a sample of the rash to look at under the microscope to help determine if the rash is actually a fungus, like Jock Itch.

Injury Prevention

The best prevention for Tinea cruris is good hygiene. Always wear clean clothes to workouts. Try to wear dry-wicking materials that will help to keep high moisture areas like your groin dry. Wash your clothes after every workout before re-wearing. Take a shower after every workout and wash your hands frequently.

Return to Play

The decision to return to play has to be made by a physician. An athlete may have to take a few days off from practice with teammates to avoid the spread of fungal rash to others. Certain sports with a lot of contact, such as wrestling, require treatment with anti-fungal medication for a few days before an athlete is cleared. With appropriate treatment and when the rash is improving, return to team practice and competition is allowed.

AMSSM Member Authors
Ashley Koontz, DO and Shawn Phillips, MD

5 Steps to Take if You Think an Athlete Might Have a Skin Infection. Centers for Disease Control Website. Updated January 25, 2019.
Ely JW, Rosenfeld S, Seabury Stone M. Diagnosis and management of tinea infections. American Family Physician. 2014 Nov 15;90(10):702-11.
Zinder SM, et al. National athletic trainers’ association position statement: skin diseases. Journal of athletic training. 2010, 45(4):411-428.







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