Can Ringworm Cause Numbness?


Ringworm, also known as tinea corporis, is a common fungal infection that affects the skin, scalp, and nails. It is characterized by a red, circular rash with raised edges and a clear center. While ringworm typically presents with itching and discomfort, some individuals may wonder if it can also cause numbness. In this article, we will explore this question in detail, examining the relationship between ringworm and numbness, as well as discussing other potential causes of numbness.

Understanding Ringworm

Ringworm is primarily caused by dermatophytes, a group of fungi that thrive on the dead tissues of the skin, hair, and nails. These fungi can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or animal, as well as by sharing personal items such as clothing, towels, or combs. The infection often begins as a small, itchy bump that gradually expands into a ring-shaped rash.

The Symptoms of Ringworm

The most common symptoms of ringworm include:

  • Red, circular rash
  • Raised edges and a clear center
  • Itching and discomfort
  • Scaling or flaking of the skin
  • Blisters or small, pus-filled bumps

While ringworm can cause various symptoms, such as itching and discomfort, numbness is not typically associated with this fungal infection. Numbness is more commonly linked to nerve-related conditions, such as neuropathy or nerve compression. However, if ringworm is left untreated and becomes severe, it can potentially lead to secondary complications, such as a bacterial infection. In rare cases, this infection can affect the nerves and potentially cause numbness.

Other Causes of Numbness

There are several other conditions and factors that can lead to numbness. These include:

  1. Peripheral neuropathy: This condition occurs when there is damage to the peripheral nerves, resulting in numbness, tingling, and pain in the affected area.
  2. Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can damage nerves over time, leading to diabetic neuropathy and numbness in the extremities.
  3. Carpal tunnel syndrome: Compression of the median nerve in the wrist can cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and fingers.
  4. Herniated disc: When a disc in the spine bulges or ruptures, it can compress nearby nerves, causing numbness, pain, and weakness.
  5. Vitamin deficiencies: Lack of essential vitamins, such as vitamin B12, can result in nerve damage and numbness.
  6. Autoimmune disorders: Conditions like multiple sclerosis or lupus can cause numbness as a result of the immune system attacking the nerves.
  7. Medication side effects: Certain medications, such as those used in chemotherapy or to treat HIV, can cause numbness as a side effect.
When to Seek Medical Attention

If you are experiencing numbness or any other concerning symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. They will be able to evaluate your symptoms, conduct any necessary tests, and provide appropriate treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can ringworm cause permanent numbness?

A1: No, ringworm does not typically cause permanent numbness. However, if left untreated and severe secondary complications occur, such as a bacterial infection affecting the nerves, it could potentially lead to long-term numbness.

Q2: How can I prevent ringworm?

A2: To prevent ringworm, it is important to practice good hygiene, including frequent handwashing, avoiding sharing personal items, and keeping your skin clean and dry. If you come into contact with an infected person or animal, promptly wash the affected area with soap and water.

Q3: Can ringworm affect the scalp?

A3: Yes, ringworm can affect the scalp, leading to a condition called tinea capitis. This type of ringworm may cause hair loss, scaling, redness, and itching on the scalp.

Q4: Can ringworm be treated with over-the-counter creams?

A4: Mild cases of ringworm can often be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams. However, more severe or persistent infections may require prescription-strength medications.

Q5: Can pets transmit ringworm to humans?

A5: Yes, pets, particularly cats and dogs, can transmit ringworm to humans. It is important to take precautions, such as regular grooming, to reduce the risk of transmission.

Q6: Can ringworm be cured?

A6: Yes, ringworm can be cured with appropriate treatment. Antifungal medications, either in the form of creams, ointments, or oral tablets, are typically prescribed to eliminate the infection.

Q7: Can ringworm recur after treatment?

A7: Ringworm can recur if the initial infection was not completely eradicated or if reinfection occurs. It is important to follow the full course of treatment and take preventive measures to reduce the risk of recurrence.


While ringworm does not typically cause numbness, severe cases of the infection can potentially lead to complications that affect the nerves. Numbness is more commonly associated with nerve-related conditions or other factors such as diabetes or vitamin deficiencies. If you are experiencing numbness or any concerning symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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