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Jock Itch


  • Rash of the groin and inner, upper thighs caused by a fungus
  • Much more common in males than females


  • Pink-red, scaly rash on inner thighs near groin. Often, starts in the groin crease. Then, spreads slowly downward.
  • In boys, the rash does not involve the penis or scrotum.
  • Rash is most often the same on both inner thighs.
  • Rash is itchy, but not painful.


  • Jock itch is caused by a fungus. Often, this is the same fungus that causes athlete's foot.
  • It can come from a towel used to dry the feet and then the groin.
  • The fungus can only grow in warm, damp skin. Sweating a lot and wearing damp underwear raises the chance of getting it.
  • Called 'jock itch' because it occurs mostly in teen males who play sports.

How to Prevent Jock Itch From Coming Back

  • Keep the groin area clean and dry. Reason: the fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.
  • Change to dry underwear after playing sports.
  • Also, avoid wearing underwear that is too tight.
  • Bring gym clothes home. Wash at least weekly.
  • If you have athlete's foot, use a separate towel for the feet.

When To Call

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Rash is very painful to touch
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • Female
  • Rash is mainly on the penis or scrotum
  • Pus is draining from the rash
  • Rash keeps spreading after 1 week on treatment
  • Rash is not gone after 4 weeks on treatment
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Jock itch rash

Care Advice

What You Should Know About Jock Itch:

  • Jock itch is common in teens. It is harmless.
  • It's caused by a fungus that grows best on warm, damp skin.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.

Antifungal Cream:

  • Use an antifungal cream 2 times per day.
  • Some brand names are Lamisil, Micatin or Lotrimin cream. No prescription is needed.
  • Put it on the rash and 1 inch beyond its borders. Make sure you put it on in all the creases.
  • Keep using the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is gone.

Keep Area Dry:

  • Jock itch will heal faster if the groin area is kept dry.
  • Wash the rash area once a day with plain water. Dry it with care. Do not use soap on the rash.
  • Wear loosely fitting cotton underwear. Wash gym shorts and jockstraps after each use.

Try Not to Scratch:

  • Avoid scratching the area. Reason: Scratching will delay the cure.

What to Expect:

  • Rash stops spreading after treated for 2-3 days.
  • With proper treatment, rash goes away in 2-3 weeks.

Return to School:

  • Children with jock itch do not need to miss any school. Your child may take gym and play sports.
  • Jock itch is not easily spread to others. The fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.

Check for Athlete's Foot:

  • If also has itchy rash of toes or feet, see Athlete's Foot care guide.
  • Until gone, use a separate towel to dry the feet.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • Rash is not better after 1 week on treatment
  • Rash is not gone after 4 weeks on treatment
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse


Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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