Cutaneous Infections in Wrestlers

Eugene K. Wilson, Kevin deWeber, James W. Berry, John H. Wilckens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Context:Cutaneous infections are common in wrestlers. Although many are simply a nuisance in the everyday population, they can be problematic to wrestlers because such infections may result in disqualification from practice or competition. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are therefore important. Evidence Acquisition:Medline and PubMed databases, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and UpToDate were searched through 2012 with the following keywords in various combinations: skin infections, cutaneous infections, wrestlers, athletes, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, skin and soft tissue infections, tinea corporis, tinea capitis, herpes simplex, varicella zoster, molluscum contagiosum, verruca vulgaris, warts, scabies, and pediculosis. Relevant articles found in the primary search, and selected references from those articles were reviewed for pertinent clinical information. Results:The most commonly reported cutaneous infections in wrestlers are herpes simplex virus infections (herpes gladiatorum), bacterial skin and soft tissue infections, and dermatophyte infections (tinea gladiatorum). The clinical appearance of these infections can be different in wrestlers than in the community at large. Conclusion:For most cutaneous infections, diagnosis and management options in wrestlers are similar to those in the community at large. With atypical presentations, testing methods are recommended to confirm the diagnosis of herpes gladiatorum and tinea gladiatorum. There is evidence to support the use of prophylactic medications to prevent recurrence of herpes simplex virus and reduce the incidence of dermatophyte infections in wrestlers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-437
Number of pages15
JournalSports Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • cutaneous infections
  • herpes gladiatorum, tinea gladiatorum
  • skin and soft tissue infections
  • wrestlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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