Are you often found in the gym or on the sports field? While being active is great and has some serious health benefits, exercising also increases your risk of catching a fungal infection. Jock itch and ringworm are caused by the fungus tinea curis — the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. If you’ve ever experienced the annoying itchy, red ring-shaped rash, you know just how annoying jock itch and ringworm can be!

Of course it is always best to prevent Jock Itch and Ringworm before it starts. Read on to find out what causes ringworm and jock itch and how you can take steps to prevent it at the gym. For more information regarding jock itch, take a look at our post What Is Jock Itch?

what causes ringworm and jock itch

If you go to the gym regularly and you think you may have picked up a fungal infection, you may be wondering what causes jock itch and ringworm?

Tinea curis, the fungus that causes both infections, lives in areas that are damp and warm. Both jock itch and ringworm are highly contagious and spread from person to person easily.

Gyms with communal changing spaces and shower areas are hotspots for the fungus and if they become contaminated it’s very easy to pick up an infection.

You have an increased chance of picking up jock itch and ringworm at the gym if you:

•   Sweat heavily
•   Wear tight-fitting workout clothing and underwear
•   Share personal items like towels and clothing with others

Since the fungus favors moisture, sweating from physical activity also provides the perfect environment for the fungi to take hold and spread to other areas of the body.

Jock itch and ringworm are often caused by an untreated case of athlete’s foot. This is why athlete's foot should be treated as quickly and effectively as possible, at the first signs of the infection, to prevent it from spreading to other areas of the body.

prevent jock itch and ringworm at the gym

Whatever workout you choose to do or sport you play, it's easy enough to prevent jock itch and ringworm as long as you follow a few simple steps.

Wrestlers have a higher risk of jock itch and ringworm

Ringworm and Wrestling

If you’re a wrestler, you’ve probably already heard about the common link between ringworm and wrestling.

Sweaty skin, humid environments, and wrestling mats that may have been used by multiple different people all provide the perfect conditions for the fungi to thrive and spread between wrestlers.

If you wrestle frequently, you should take extra care to follow precautions so you don’t end up with an infection.

However, it’s not just wrestlers who are at risk of ringworm and jock itch infections. Other contact sports like football or sports which involve sharing equipment or changing facilities all provide opportunities for the fungus to spread.

Gym Hygiene

Practicing good gym hygiene is the key to preventing jock itch and ringworm.

Always shower right after working out. Staying in the same sweaty clothes for too long without washing your body provides ideal conditions for the fungus to take hold.

Dry yourself thoroughly with a clean towel. Remember not to share your towel with others or allow anyone to borrow it. Pay special attention to drying your groin and inner thighs as these parts of the body are more susceptible to infection. Always dry your feet off last to avoid any potential transmission of athlete’s foot to other areas of your body.

Find out more about athlete’s foot with our blog post, What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Don’t leave dirty or damp clothes, towels, or sneakers lying around in your gym bag. Leaving them there for too long will cause fungi to multiply and spread — further increasing your risk of infection.

For successful jock itch and ringworm prevention, it is vital that you follow these tips consistently.

Using dirty towels or sharing towels with others can cause jock itch and ringworm infections

how to get rid of jock itch and ringworm fast

If you think you have jock itch or ringworm, it’s best to begin treatment right away to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body or to others living in your household.

If you don’t treat ringworm or jock itch quickly, there’s a risk that the infection will last for months and continue to come back, becoming a chronic condition.

You can treat jock itch and ringworm effectively with an over the counter antifungal product. Silka Ⓡ antifungal jock itch cream is highly effective and is proven to work in just 7 days when all the treatment steps are correctly followed.

For a full guide to treating jock itch, check out our blog post How to Treat Jock Itch.

Remember if you have any pre-existing conditions or have a suppressed immune system, it’s always best to see your doctor at the first sign of any fungal infection in order to receive a personalized treatment plan.

Take care!