Category Archives: Skin Diseases

Fungal Skin Infection Facts

In scientific terms a fungal skin infection is known as mycosis. However, most types of fungi are innocuous for us; still some of them are able to cause skin disorders when specific environment conditions are available. Fungi normally survive in moist and wet part of the body, e.g. between the toes, in the genital area, and underarms etc. Common fungal skin infections noticed are:

Spores are the infection causing part of a fungus; humans may get them by direct skin contact or even breathe in with air. This is the reason behind fungal infections affecting mainly the lungs, hairs, skin, or nails. In rare cases, fungi can also enter the skin layers to start an infection in whole body.

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Signs of Staph Infections

Mixed Martial Arts is probably one of the easiest ways to get yourself a Staph Infection. The close contact, cuts, sweat and mats are a recipe for Staph. In order to prevent it, you have to understand it because the fact is at any gym there will be those who get infected with Staph. Staphylococcus aures (Staph) can be mild but sometimes fatal. The Staph bacteria can be found living harmlessly on your skin. The moment your skin is broken, there is a chance that Staph can infect the broken area.

Symptoms and Signs

  • Painful Red Bumps
  • Pus
  • Spreading
  • Boil like look


Serious staph infections where a fatality is rare though possible if not treated. The staph infection can actually move into your blood stream which will potentially infect your lungs, bones, joints, heart and central nervous system. I had a friend that trained with me that was treated for a serious staph infection, where he had to have medicine injected daily for a week.

Yay, Prevention

  • Good hygiene and cleanliness
    • Bathe as soon as you’re done training
    • Wash your hands often
  • Cover your cuts
  • Don’t share equipment or towels
  • Use a rash guard
  • Wash your equipment

So if you see anything funny on you’re skin, get it checked out. Better safe than sorry, right?

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MRSA Screening

A MRSA screening is a process whose purpose is to detect the presence of the MRSA bacteria in patients. MRSA screenings are used primarily on colonised patients and on infected patients after they have been treated, to determine whether any resistant bacteria remains.

At a community level, MRSA screening may help to identify the source of a MRSA outbreak, and at a national level it can help to identify genetic characteristics of a MRSA strain.

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Dr. Happy Offers Advice About Preventing Skin Infections

Lots of athletes have been asking me about how to prevent skin infections such as Staph, while training. MMA, Thai boxing and Ju-jitsu are excellent sports for conditioning and competing. Because of the nature of the sport (submissions and knee sparring) competitors are at a greater risk of skin infections. Skin infections can be contagious and if left untreated can cause serious infections and even death. Currently MRSA is one of the greatest health risks in the country due to it’s resistance to antibiotics. If a gym becomes infected with staph it can be cited and closed by the health department.
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Ask the Doc: The dangers of shin conditioning and MRSA skin infections

Dr. Johnny Benjamin
In this week’s installment of “Ask the Doc,” medical columnist and consultant Dr.Johnny Benjamin takes a look at two issues – andpotential problems – in MMA.

In his most recent “TUF” blog for, Team Mir assistant Ken Hahn introduced many readers to the concept of shin conditioning – the strengthening of legs via repetitive stress. However, a reader wants to know what the dangers of this process are.
Additionally, Dr. Benjamin discusses why MRSA infections are so dangerous and what can be done to avoid the sometimes-distgusting consequences.

Q. Hi Dr. Benjamin – Have you had the chance to read assistant coach Ken Hahn’s blog (for “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir)? In the latest entry, he discusses shin conditioning and the safety of using Thai kicks. Could you tell us what exactly is at work in this sort of conditioning, whether there are any risks involved, and anything else you might care to add? By the way, I really enjoy your column. Patrick (aka reader “onymous”)

A. Patrick, great question. Let’s take a look at what master Hahn wrote:

“In Thailand the most common way for the fighters to condition their legs involves kicking heavy bags. They begin their conditioning regimen by kicking soft-filled bags that progressively become harder until the bags are finally filled with sand – and then rocks and sand. Once fighters can kick a bag filled with that combination of rocks and sand, they can blast away at an opponent’s leg with little risk of injury.”

(I highly suggest reading the entire article.)

Ancient martial artists clearly understood and passed to their students a principle that has taken modern medicine many years to describe. The principle master Hahn has learned and practices is what orthopedic surgeons call Wolfe’s Law. This simply states bone placed under repetitive stress for enough time will grow and harden to better withstand the stress. It’s the body’s attempt to adapt to a changing environment.

NASA learned this during the early days of manned space flight. That’s why modern astronauts jog on a treadmill and ride a stationary bike while on the shuttle or space station. In a weightless environment, the bones need to be repetitively stressed so as to not lose calcium content and become brittle leaving them susceptible to fracture upon their return to Earth. Early astronauts actually suffered fractures by merely standing and walking after long missions.

If the lack of stress causes bones to lose calcium and become brittle, then it stands to reason that adding repetitive stress will strengthen bone. And if we employ the if-a-little-is-good-then-a-whole-lot-must-be-better philosophy, we get to traditional martial arts. Master Hahn’s time-honored techniques of slowly, progressively increasing the reps and hardness of the bag being kicked forces the bones and soft tissues to adapt. The bone actually gets thicker and harder (denser). The ligaments and tendons get stronger. The skin gets tougher. The martial artist feels less or is able to tolerate more pain.

Is there a downside? You bet. Injuries can include cuts, abrasions, skin infections, stress fractures, ligament and tendon injury and broken bones. The most concerning potential problem is applying this technique to the growing bones of very young children.

Fortunately, children are very resilient but not indestructible. As we’ve discussed before, growing bones have growth plates that do not tolerate injury well. Repetitive trauma from kicking that bag all day can cause the growth plate to close early and stunt growth.

Q. What is a “mersa” infection? Is it a big deal? Why are gyms so freaked out about them?

A. I dare you to ask Diego Sanchez if MRSA skin infections are a big deal. Go on – I dare you. (Just kidding. Don’t do it. That’s a bad man.)

MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus) is a super-bug (bacteria) that is not susceptible to common first-line antibiotics. The common version of this bacteria (staph aureus) is normally found almost everywhere (check your nose) and usually not a big deal for young healthy people. But due to the overuse of antibiotics, the common version got smart and mutated to a strain that – as you can see – is very aggressive, easily transmitted by contact and hard to treat.

Unfortunately, just attacking MRSA with bigger guns (stronger antibiotics) gives it a chance to one day mutate into a Godzilla that we may have no answer for. So as doctors, we would prefer to stop its spread and contain it rather than treat it.

Wrestling (including all common grappling styles in MMA, jiu jitsu, etc.) gyms are the perfect breeding grounds and thus ground zero. These facilities are usually kept very warm, have sweaty mats from intense training, and by definition require close sustained bodily contact. In this setting a scrape, pimple or simple hair bump can go bad very quickly.

What can we do to protect ourselves? Shower with anti-bacterial soap (Dial) immediately after practice (a bit controversial but currently the CDC standard). Do not wait until you get home. Practice good mat hygiene. The mat and all surfaces, including equipment, should be mopped or wiped down before and after each practice with a mild, diluted Clorox solution (or other appropriate widely available antibacterial cleaning solution) then be allowed to dry thoroughly. Once dry the mat should then be mopped with clean water to remove any residue. Every gym should maintain multiple, readily available dispensers of hand sanitizer and encourage/mandate its use. (If you must ask someone for it, that’s not readily available.) Last but not least, develop a fetish about checking your skin for any type of scrape, scratch, bump or insect bite.

* * * *

May I ask a question to the MMA faithful? Beyond the sexual thrill of watching “chicks” fight (I get that aspect – and truly no disrespect intended), what is the fascination with women’s MMA and especially Gina Carano? I’m trying to keep an open mind, but I just don’t get it. At this point in time, they don’t seem very good.

In closing please remember to vote for me in the upcoming election. Change is coming! (lol)

Dr. Johnny Benjamin is’s medical columnist and consultant and a noted combat-sports specialist. He is also a member of the Association of Boxing Commissions’ MMA Medical Subcommittee. Dr. Benjamin writes an “Ask the Doc” column every two weeks for To submit a question for a future column, email him at askthedoc [AT], or share your questions and thoughts in the comments section below. You can find Dr. Benjamin online at, and you can read his other sports-related articles at

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