Is Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris) Contagious?

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Jock Itch Treatment

Home remedies cannot cure ringworm. To cure ringworm, it is necessary to take antifungal medications. Ringworm can be treated topically (with external applications) or systemically (for example, with oral medications).

What is jock itch (tinea cruris)?

Jock itch, also termed tinea cruris, tinea (the fungal name is often used as the disease name), or ringworm, is a term that describes superficial fungal infection of the skin located in the groin area (genitals, inner thighs, and buttock area). It is a common skin infection that occurs in warm, moist areas of the body. The major cause of jock itch is the fungus termed tinea; the term jock itch came from the itchy superficial fungal infections that frequently occur in males who wear protective gear like cups to protect the genitals during sports activities (football, baseball, and other sports). However, any tight clothing (swimming suits, tight-fitting shorts, and tight-fitting underwear) may increase the chance of acquiring jock itch.

Is jock itch contagious?

Jock itch is considered to be mildly contagious. Usually, it requires direct person-to-person contact or wearing the clothing of someone who has the skin disease. It is mildly contagious because if the individual who becomes associated with a person with jock itch does not provide a similar warm, moist environment that supports the growth of fungi, the uninfected individual may not get the disease.

How will I know if I have jock itch?

Symptoms of jock itch include the following:

  • An itchy red rash that is slightly raised and flaking
  • Crack formations in the skin
  • Often, the skin rash will have a sharp line that defines the extent of the ongoing infection.
  • Some individuals may have a burning pain in the rash area.
  • When clothing rubs against the skin, additional discomfort and/or pain can occur.

If you are not sure you have jock itch, a physician can, after physical exam and patient history, either examine the flaking skin scales or send them off to be examined. Microscopic detection of the fungi can confirm a diagnosis of jock itch.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/7/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors