Tinea cruris

Tinea cruris

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Alternative Names: Jock itch, fungal groin infection, tinea inguinalis, trichophytosis cruris, ringworm of genitocrural region, eczema marginatum.

The body normally hosts a variety of bacteria and fungi. Some of these are useful to the body. Others can multiply rapidly and form infections. Tinea cruris is a superficial fungus infection of the groin and upper inner thighs which most commonly starts in hot humid weather. It is more common in men than woman.

The most common etiologic agents for tinea cruris include Trichophyton (A genus of pathogenic fungi causing dermatophytosis in humans and animals; species may be anthropophilic, zoophilic, or geophilic, and attack the hair, skin, and nails, and are characterized by their growth in hair. Endothrix species grow from the skin into the hair follicle, penetrate the shaft, and grow into it, producing rows of arthroconidia as the hyphae septate; there is no growth on the external surface of the shaft. Ectothrix species are of two kinds, large spored and small spored. In both, the fungus grows into the hair follicle, surrounds the hair shaft, and penetrates it, but continues to grow both within and outside the hair shaft, producing arthroconidia externally) rubrum and Epidermophyton (A genus of fungi, separated by Sabouraud from Trichophyton on the basis that it never invades the hair follicles, whose macroconidia are clavate and smooth walled. The only species, Epidermophyton floccosum, is an anthropophilic species that is a common cause of tinea pedis and tinea cruris) floccosum, less commonly Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Trichophyton verrucosum are involved.

Tinea cruris is a contagious infection transmitted by fomites, such as contaminated towels or hotel bedroom sheets, or by autoinoculation from a reservoir on the hands or feet (tinea manuum, tinea pedis, tinea unguium). The fungus may also be conveyed by infected lavatory seats (public lavatories) and by laundry clothes. It can be passed from one person to the next by direct skin-to-skin contact. The disease may also spread through sexual intercourse with an infected person.

The etiologic agents produce keratinases, which allow invasion of the cornified cell layer of the epidermis. The host immune response may prevent deeper invasion.

A rash appears which is red to tan or brown in color, slightly scaly, and usually has a fairly sharp and distinct margin. There may be central clearing. It usually does not affect the scrotum and penis.

Risk Factors may include:


  • Tight clothes.

  • Remaining in wet/water.

  • Hot, humid conditions.

  • Excessive perspiration.


    Typically the groin becomes itchy and irritable, mainly in the crease between the top of the leg and the genitals.A red rash then develops in the groin, usually with a definite edge or border. The rash often spreads a short way down the inside of both thighs.

  • The scrotum may also be itchy.

  • Abnormally dark or light skin.

  • The disease is most active at the edges of the patch.

  • Burning sensation around the groin.

  • Flaking, peeling or cracking skin in the groin area.

  • Sometimes the infection spreads to the skin on other parts of the body (or may have first started in another area, such as athlete's foot).


Differential diagnosis may include: Intertrigo (mechanical rubbing, and moisture), psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, candidal (yeast) infections, and several other skin diseases can mimic tinea cruris.

Often, the diagnosis of tinea cruris is based on its location and appearance. Otherwise, skin scrapings for microscopic examination and a culture of the affected skin can establish the diagnosis of tinea cruris.


Over-the-counter antifungal creams can usually treat tinea cruris. Creams or lotions work better on tinea cruris than sprays. In severe or persistent cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger creams or oral medication. Use your prescription for the entire time that your doctor recommends. This will help prevent reoccurrence of the rash. If your rash does not resolve within a month of treatment, contact your doctor.

Antifungal creams may include:


  • Terbinafine (Lamisil).

  • Clotrimazole.

  • Econazole.

  • Oxiconazole (Oxistat).

  • Ketoconazole.

  • Tolnaftate.

  • Ciclopirox (Penlac).

  • Haloprogin (Halotex).

  • Naftifine (Naftin).

  • Undecylenic acid.

Preventive Measures:

    Prevention of tinea cruris consists of keeping the groin dry. After showering, dry the groin carefully. Do not dry your feet first and then your groin, because you may transfer fungus from your feet to your groin on the towel.

  • Use an absorbent powder if you sweat easily.

  • Wear absorbent cotton underwear.

  • Avoid clothing (pants, underwear, and sportswear) that is tight or occlusive.

  • Do not wear wet swimming gear for prolonged periods of time.

Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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