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There are many skin diseases that are associated with sports and athletics. This section will review some of the more common skin conditions that are associated with sports and physical activity.

Athletes are prone to several skin problems and not all of these are related to contact sports. Some of the more common skin conditions can be seen in athletes who run. Simple friction can induce blisters and painful calluses on the feet. In addition, fat herniation of the feet, referred to as “piezogenic pedal papules”, or wart development can occur. Nails can also become deformed due to repetitive trauma from running. Once this occurs, a fungal infection of the toenail can develop.


Sports Rashes

Swimmers can develop green discoloration of their hair due to exposure to copper. Also, pseudomonas infections can be acquired from pool or hot tub sources. Those involved in contact sports such as football or hockey can develop acne over their back and chin where friction occurs. Persistent sweating without evaporation can lead to bacterial accumulation within hair follicles and lead to “folliculitis”. Bicyclists can develop saddle sores on their buttocks and suffer hair loss from tightly worn helmets.

One of the most common ailments amongst all athletes is a sunburn reaction. Sun exposure can be intense for long distance runners and triathletes. Sunscreens can wash off with sweating or swimming events. To minimize this risk, one can take the time to tape small tubes of sunscreens to a bicycle or wear a helmet or hat during outdoor events such as cycling or running.


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In wrestlers, a shingles rash can occur over the face or chest. This rash is induced by friction and the rubbing of the skin during wrestling matches. The condition is referred to as “herpes gladiatorum”.

Allergic contact dermatitis can arise due to plastic, rubber, or leather exposure. Golfers who wear leather gloves or racecar drivers who handle rubber steering wheels can suffer this type of rash. Vinyl goggles, helmets and shoulder pads can also induce dermatitis. These rashes arise as a result of polymers that are used in plastic processing.

For more information on sports activities and how they can affect your skin, click here. Thank you and we look forward to helping you.

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