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Jock Itch

What causes jock itch?

Jock itch is a fungal infection of the groin. The fungus may be picked up from moist surfaces, such as public gyms, or pools. It can spread through direct skin to skin contact or through infected clothing and towels. The fungus thrives in moist environments on our skin, like in the skinfold between the groin and the thigh.

Symptoms of jock itch

A jock itch rash is itchy, red, raised, and can be scaly around the edges. It typically affects the creases of the groin and upper thigh but spares the scrotum or penis. The itchy rash can be painful or may even blister and ooze.


If it looks and feels like a jock itch, probably is a jock itch. The doctor can often make the diagnosis by inspection and a few questions. When in doubt, he or she may scrape a sample off the rash and send it to the lab.


Mild cases of jock itch can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal cream or lotion (such as miconazole, ketoconazole, or clotrimazole) and self care. The affected area should be clean and dry to discourage fungi growth.

Severe, widespread, or infected cases of jock itch need to be treated by a doctor. These cases may require prescription strength antifungals along with antibiotics.


Make the groin an inhospitable place for fungi by:

  • Keeping the groin nice and dry after bathing

  • Avoiding tight underwear and garments

  • Changing underwear at least once a day

  • Avoid going barefoot, especially in public areas

  • Immediately treat athlete’s foot to prevent fungal spread


Pippin MM, Madden ML. Tinea Cruris. 2020 Jun 25.

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