Just hearing the word "ringworm” may make your skin crawl, but finding this fungal infection on your inner thighs is even more uncomfortable. Exercise can make ringworm worse, but it doesn’t necessarily have to interrupt your workout routine. As long as you talk to your doctor about the condition and monitor the rash, you may be able to exercise through your discomfort.
Ringworm can affect any part of the body, but the type of ringworm that affects the inner thighs is known as jock itch. If you’ve developed the rash on your inner thighs, you may notice it spreading to your groin, outer thighs or buttocks as well. This rash is generally red, itchy and scaly, and it occurs when fungi that live on your skin normally grow and spread into an infection. You can also contract jock itch if you make contact with a person or a surface that’s infected. According to MedlinePlus, men and boys are most likely to develop jock itch.
Sweat is like food for fungi, since it gives the organisms a damp, warm environment in which to grow. Therefore, exercise can make your rash worse if you don’t take proper precautions. Tight-fitting clothes trap sweat against your skin, so put your yoga pants or bike shorts aside and wear loose-fitting shorts or pants. Friction can irritate the skin even more and may cause you discomfort, so you may find it more comfortable to swim or do activities such as yoga rather than doing exercises that cause your thighs to chafe, such as running.
Ignoring jock itch will only stretch out your suffering; ringworm won’t always go away on its own. Make an effort to wash your thighs thoroughly with antibacterial soap, and keep the skin as dry as possible. Your doctor may recommend applying an over-the-counter antifungal cream to the affected area. If the infection doesn’t seem to be improving, your doctor may prescribe a more powerful cream or recommend that you take oral antifungal medications. She may put you on prescription medication right away if you have a weakened immune system due to an illness such as HIV. MayoClinic.com warns that having a weak immune system can make it harder for you to fight off ringworm on your own.
Once you’ve gotten rid of a case of jock itch, you’ll never want to deal with it again. Luckily, you may be able to fight off future bouts of jock itch with a few simple hygiene practices. Continue washing your thighs with soap each morning as well as after working out or anytime you feel sweat around your thighs or groin. After drying off the area, sprinkle antifungal powder on your thighs. Don’t sit around in your gym clothes. As soon as you climb off the treadmill, climb into the shower. Dry yourself thoroughly when you get out of the shower, then put on clean, dry underwear and pants.