Infectious Rashes in Sports: Do we need to include Monkeypox?

Although the sport of wrestling is associated with infectious rashes other sports can also be at risk spreading infection through direct skin contact or from surface contact. Here is a list of some of the most common infectious rashes resulting from sports participation.  It is too early in our experience with monkeypox to know if it has any significance in sports infectious rashes but is included in case it becomes relevant.

Bacterial Folliculitis

Infection from Staphylococcus aureus resulting in an infection of hair follicles. Resulting in small pustules (pimples) around the hair follicles. In some cases, it can advance to a more severe infection such as cellulitis or abscess.

Management – Antibiotics (oral or topical).


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is an infection with a specific type of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to many antibiotics hence why some refer to it as a “super bug.” This infection is spread by skin to skin contact and usually presents as an abscess or boil.

Management – Appropriate antibiotics and sometimes incision and drainage of abscesses.


Bacterial infection caused by Group A Streptococcus or Staphylococcus aureus that is spread from direct contact.  Often seen in children but can be seen in athletic activities such as wrestling. The rash starts as reddish sores that advance to a honey crusted lesion.

Management – Topical antibiotic in most cases.

Tina Corporis (Ringworm)

Fungal infection of the skin resulting in a mildly itchy circular rash with central clearing.  This infection is spread by direct contact from skin or other surfaces.

Management – Topical anti-fungal in most cases.

Molluscum Contagiosum

Viral infection by a pox virus spread by direct contact resulting in small raised pink lesion with a dimple in the center.

Management – Observation or cryotherapy.

Herpes Simplex

A viral infection spread by contact resulting in a rash with localized redness with small groups of blisters.  Like a cold sore the rash resolves but lives within nerves and can resurface at another time.  Repeat activation of the virus is often preceded with a burning tingling pain prior to the eruption of the rash. Although this infection cannot be “cured” it can be managed with antiviral medications.

Management -Antiviral Medication.


Warts are not often included in the rash category but are a common viral skin infection.

Management – Over the counter treatments, cryotherapy,  electrodessication and curettage.


If COVID-19 over the past couple years was not enough we now we must acknowledge a new rash.

Monkeypox is a viral infection causing an illness (fever, swollen lymph nodes)and rash.  This infection is predominantly spread by direct contact and results in a febrile illness and rash.  The rash can consist of blisters and pustules and takes 3 weeks for the lesions to crust over and not be infectious.

Management – Observation and watching for any other skin infections arising from the lesions.  Although currently in short supply , there is a vaccination available for Monkeypox.

Posted by Comp Sports Med


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