Tinea Cruris (Jock Itch)

What is jock itch?

Jock itch is a fungus that causes the pink, scaly, extremely itchy rash on the inner thighs, groin, and scrotum. (Note: The rash is not on the penis.) Jock itch is much more common in boys than girls. Jock itch is also called ringworm of the crotch or tinea cruris.

What is the cause?

Jock itch is caused by a fungus, often the same one that causes athlete's foot. Sometimes it is transferred by a towel used to dry the feet and then the groin area.

How long does it last?

With treatment, the symptoms are better in 2 or 3 days and the rash is cured in 3 to 4 weeks.

How can I take care of my child?

Antifungal medicine 
Buy Tinactin, Micatin, Lamisil AT, or Lotrimin powder or spray (nonprescription) at your drugstore. Twice a day put the powder or spray on the rash and at least 1 inch beyond the borders of the rash. Make sure you get the medicine in all the creases.

Continue using the medicine for several weeks, or for at least 7 days after the rash seems to have gone away.

Jock itch will heal much more quickly if the groin area is kept dry. Your child should wear loosely fitting cotton shorts. Wash shorts and athletic supporters after each use. Wash the rash area once a day with plain water and dry it carefully. Do not use soap on the rash.

Scratching can spread the rash or even start a bacterial infection (impetigo), so encourage your child not to scratch the area.

Jock itch is not very contagious. The fungus won't grow on dry, normal skin. Your child may continue to take gym and play sports. Wash clothes after each use. Storing clothes in a locker or gym bag lets the fungus grow on the clothes.

Call 911

If you feel that your child needs immediate medical care.

Call us during office hours if:

  • There is no improvement in 1 week. 
  • The rash is not completely cured in 1 month. 
  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

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