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.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
As described above, it is possible to acquire ringworm from a variety of places and circumstances. The greatest risk factor is coming in contact with an affected individual. Warm, moist areas are favorable conditions for the growth of fungi, so areas such as communal showers and locker rooms are areas in which transmission is favorable. However, any contact with an infected person or a contaminated surface can lead to ringworm infection.
What types of ringworm are there? What are ringworm symptoms and signs?
The following are the different types of ringworm, or tinea:
Tinea barbae: Ringworm of
the bearded area of the face and neck, with swelling and marked crusting,
is often accompanied by
itching, sometimes causing the hair to break off. In the days when
men went to the barber daily for a shave, tinea barbae was called barber's
Tinea capitis: Ringworm of the scalp commonly affects
children, mostly in late childhood or adolescence. This condition
may spread in schools. Tinea capitis appears as scalp scaling that
is associated with bald spots (in contrast to seborrhea
for instance, which do not cause hair loss).
Tinea corporis: When fungus affects the skin of the body,
it often produces the round spots of classic ringworm. Sometimes,
these spots have an "active" outer
border as they slowly grow and advance. It is important to
rash from other even more common
rashes, such as nummular eczema. This condition, and others, may appear similar to ringworm, but they are not due to a fungal infection and require different treatment.
Tinea cruris: Tinea of the groin ("jock itch") tends to
have a reddish-brown color and extends from the folds of the groin
down onto one or both thighs. Other conditions that can mimic tinea
cruris include yeast infections, psoriasis, and
intertrigo, a chafing rash which results from the skin rubbing against the
Tinea faciei (faciale): ringworm on
the face except in the area of the beard. On the face, ringworm is rarely
ring shaped. Characteristically, it causes red, scaly patches with indistinct
Tinea manus: ringworm
involving the hands, particularly the palms and the spaces between the
fingers. It typically causes thickening (hyperkeratosis) of these areas, often
on only one hand. Tinea manus is a common companion of tinea pedis (ringworm
of the feet). It is also called tinea manuum.
Tinea pedis: Athlete's
foot may cause scaling and inflammation in the toe webs, especially the one
between the fourth and fifth toes. Another common form of tinea pedis produces a
thickening or scaling of the skin on the heels and soles. This is sometimes
referred to as the "moccasin distribution." In still other cases, tinea causes
blisters between the toes or on the sole. Aside from athlete's foot, tinea pedis is known as tinea of the foot or, more loosely, fungal infection of the
feet. Tinea pedis is an extremely common skin disorder. It is the most common
and perhaps the most persistent of the fungal (tinea) infections. It is rare
before adolescence. It may occur in association with other fungal skin
infections such as tinea cruris (jock itch).
Finally, fungal infection can make the fingernails
and, more often, the toenails yellow, thick, and crumbly. This is referred to as fungal nails or onychomycosis.
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 3/16/2012