Tinea Infections | Symptoms


What areas of the body are affected by tinea infections?

Tinea infections are named for the part of the body they infect. Tinea corporis is a fungal infection of the skin on the body. ("Corporis" is the Latin word for body.) If you have this infection, you may see small, red spots that grow into large rings almost anywhere on your arms, legs or chest. The rash may also itch.

Tinea pedis is usually called "athlete's foot." ("Pedis" is the Latin word for foot.) The moist skin between your toes is a perfect place for a fungus to grow. The skin may become itchy and red, with blisters and cracking of the skin. The infection may also spread to the toenails. (This is called tinea unguium — "unguium" comes from the Latin word for nail.) Here it causes the toenails to become thick and crumbly. It can also spread to your hands and fingernails.

When a fungus grows in the moist, warm area of the groin, the rash is called tinea cruris. ("Cruris" comes from the Latin word for for leg.) The common name for this infection is "jock itch." The rash can be itchy and painful. Tinea cruris generally occurs in men, especially if they often wear athletic equipment.

Tinea capitis, which is called "ringworm," causes itchy, red areas, usually on the head. ("Capitis" comes from the Latin for head.) The hair is destroyed, leaving bald patches. This tinea infection is most common in children.


Diagnosis and Management of Common Tinea Infections by SL Noble, Pharm.D., RC Forbes, M.D. and PL Stamm, Pharm.D. (American Family Physician July 01, 1998, http://www.aafp.org/afp/980700ap/noble.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 07/98