Jock Itch

Is this your child's symptom?

  • 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 for Jock Itch

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

Seattle Children's Urgent Care Locations

If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

Care Advice for Jock Itch

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Try Not to Scratch:
    • Avoid scratching the area. Reason: Scratching will delay the cure.
  5. What to Expect:
    • Rash stops spreading after treated for 2-3 days.
    • With proper treatment, rash goes away in 2-3 weeks.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

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

Last Reviewed: 10/11/2023

Last Revised: 12/30/2022

Copyright 2000-2023. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.