Doctors use the word tinea to describe a group of contagious skin infections caused by a few different types of fungi. They can affect many areas of the skin and depending on their location and fungal type, the infection has different names.
- Tinea capitis is a skin infection or ringworm of the scalp caused by a fungus called dermatophytes (capitis comes from the Latin word for head). It mostly affects children.
- Tinea corporis is ringworm of the body (corporis means body in Latin). In wrestlers this is often called tinea gladiatorum.
- Tinea pedis or athlete’s foot is an infection that occurs on the feet, particularly between the toes (pedis is the Latin word for foot).
- Tinea cruris or jock itch tends to create a rash in the moist, warm areas of the groin (cruris means leg in Latin). It most often occurs in boys when they wear athletic gear.
- Tinea versicolor or pityriasis versicolor is a common skin infection caused by a slow-growing fungus (Pityrosporum orbiculare) that is a type of yeast. It is a mild infection that can occur on many parts of the body.
Although the name ringworm is attached to some of these conditions, worms are not involved in any of them. The infections are caused by fungi.