Trichophyton rubrum is often cited in popular health media as being the cause of Athlete’s Foot and toenail fungus, but did you know that it causes other problems as well? Here are several other common medical complaints caused by t. rubrum.
T. rubrum was actually once considered an uncommon cause of nail fungus, or onychomycosis, but it is now the most common cause. You can read more about onychomycosis elsewhere on this site as we have covered it extensively.
Trichophyton rubrum is also one of the most common causes of the well-known condition called Athlete’s Foot, or Tinea pedis. While generally considered an irksome but mostly minor condition, Ahtlete’s Foot can nevertheless lead to complications like infections and inflammation of lymphatic vessels.
Jock Itch is a fungal infection of the groin area. Both sexes can get it though it’s more common among males. Clothing or equipment that fits tightly around the groin region, trapping heat and moisture, creates an ideal environment for T. rubrum.
In actuality, all of the above conditions (as well as others) are all forms of tinea, more commonly known as ringworm. Despite its name, Ringworm actually has nothing to do with worms (as a child I used to think it was a worm infection). It is a fungal infection of the skin and is also known as dermatophytosis. Different kinds of fungi (around 40 different ones) can cause ringworm but trichophyton rubrum is one of the most common ones.
When you get ringworm on the feet it is known as athlete’s’ foot, when you get ringworm in the groin area it is called Jock Itch. And so it is that you can get ringworm all throughout various parts of your body, but certain areas are more common due to certain higher risk factors (e.g. locker room floors and Athlete’s Foot). The array of different names may be one reason for some of the confusion but they are the same basic condition and they are all caused by the troublesome little fungal species known as Trichophyton rubrum.