Medically termed tinea cruris, jock itch is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the genitals, inner thighs and buttocks. Often characterized by a red, ring-shaped rash, jock itch is often itchy and develops in the moist areas of the body. The name, jock itch, is derived from the people who most often get the condition – those who sweat a great deal such as athletes. Additionally, jock itch occurs more frequently in individuals who are overweight; however, anyone can develop the condition.
Jock itch is fairly common and presents typical symptoms and signs. Usually beginning as a reddened area of skin, jock itch typically develops outward from the crease in the groin and forms a half-moon shape on the upper thigh. A line of small, raised blisters may also develop along the edge or border of the rash itself. Itching, burning, and flaking or scaling of the skin are also common.
As a fungal infection, jock itch is caused by a specific type of fungus that is frequently spread from person to person or shared from the use of infected towels or clothing. Typically caused by the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot, jock itch can also be spread from the feet to the groin. Additional factors that contribute to the spread or development of jock include wearing tight underwear, being overweight, sweating heavily, having a weakened immune system and experiencing other skin conditions. Men are also more likely to develop jock itch.