Skin Infections in Athletes – OrthoInfo

James J. Latham

Viral pores and skin bacterial infections frequently found in athletes include:

  • Molluscum contagiosum
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Warts

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is prompted by a pox virus. Ordinarily found in youthful children, the infection can be spread by pores and skin-to-pores and skin speak to or by sharing pools, decks, and other soaked environments with an individual who has the infection.

Molluscum contagiosum causes lesions (mollusca) that typically take place in clusters in the body’s creases — these kinds of as the underarms, elbow, and powering the knees — although they may well surface in other locations, as well.

Mollusca are typically compact (three to 4 mm in diameter), pink, and dome-formed with a compact depression, or dimple, in the center. They are often surrounded by an itchy, eczema-like rash.

Procedure. If remaining untreated, mollusca may well eventually solve on their have. The lesions often spread, having said that, so it can choose from many months to many many years for untreated lesions to go absent fully. For this explanation, therapy is often advisable.

Mollusca are often addressed with remedies, such as:

  • Cantharidan. This pain-free blistering agent is applied in the doctor’s business office. Various therapies 2 to three months aside are typically demanded.
  • Imiquimod, 5-fluorouracil, or tretinoin. These topical prescription remedies can be applied at home. In some sufferers, having said that, they can be annoying to the pores and skin and sluggish to function.

Mollusca may well also be addressed with cryotherapy or curettage. In cryotherapy, the health care provider freezes the lesions with liquid nitrogen, which causes the cells to die. Curettage is a insignificant surgical technique in which the health care provider scrapes off the lesions.

Herpes Simplex Virus

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) usually causes a recurrent cluster of tender, burning blisters on or about the mouth or lips. In advance of these blisters surface, you may well really feel a burning or tingling sensation in the infected area.

The blisters typically crust over right after many times and solve in 2 to three months. Simply because the virus can stay in the pores and skin, reoccurrence in the very same location is widespread.

In wrestlers, HSV often appears in other locations on the overall body — such as the neck, torso, and extremities — and is frequently referred to as “herpes gladiatorum.” When it influences the fingertip, it is regarded as “herpetic whitlow.”

If the blisters have crusted over, HSV is in some cases misdiagnosed as impetigo (a bacterial pores and skin infection), acne breakouts, or eczema, which can direct to a delay in therapy.

Procedure. HSV is typically addressed with an oral antiviral drug these kinds of as valacyclovir or acyclovir. These drugs function most effective to shorten the duration of the outbreak if you begin getting them within just the initial 72 hours of signs and symptoms.

If the virus reoccurs often, your health care provider may well prescribe a suppressive every day dose of both medication. This will support lower outbreaks and restrict missed gatherings and methods.


Warts are pores and skin growths prompted by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Anyone can get warts, but they are often transmitted to athletes by speak to with contaminated locker space flooring and mats.

Warts are typically gentle brown, yellowish, or flesh-colored. Simply because they can be mistaken for callouses, your health care provider may well pare down the thickened area of pores and skin to seem for compact black dots. These black dots are truly compact clotted capillaries feeding the wart.

Procedure. There are a number of therapy solutions for warts. Some of them need a brief time period of restoration because of to the slight discomfort they cause. These include:

  • Cryotherapy. Liquid nitrogen is employed to freeze the wart.
  • Curettage. A particular instrument is employed to scrape off the wart.
  • Laser treatment. The wart is burned and wrecked with a laser.
  • Topical treatment. A blistering agent, these kinds of as cantharidin, is applied to the area of the wart.

These therapies usually need many therapies 2 to three months aside. Your health care provider will converse with you about no matter if you can take part in methods and athletic gatherings all through this time.

Your health care provider may well also prescribe a topical prescription medication that can be applied at home, these kinds of as imiquimod, 5-fluorouracil, or tretinoin. While these remedies need some function on the part of the affected individual, they are pain-free, and using them does not typically impact participation in methods and gatherings.

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