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A guide to cauliflower ear

Cauliflower Ear occurs as a result of trauma to the ear causing disruption to the blood supply often resulting in a hematoma to form on the ear. Once the injury has healed the ear begins to shrivel up and fold over itself, causing the deformity of the outer ear.  

Cauliflower ear is most common in contact sports such as boxing, MMA and especially rugby, due to the fact that the ear is vulnerable to blows from the opponent.

It can also occur as a result of infected cartilage piercings due to clotting and restricted blood supply.

The most apparent symptom of cauliflower ear is the appearance of a deformed ear in which the curve becomes swollen and misshapen. The severity of swelling, bruising and pain will depend on the severity of the trauma to the ear.

In severe cases patients may suffer a loss of hearing or suffer hearing issues such as tinnitus. Sometimes a patient will suffer from headaches and blurred vision.

In order to treat cauliflower ear applying ice to the injury will help reduce swelling and inflammation as well as relieving pain. The use of dressings that provide compression are also advised to help reduce swelling.

Patients may be provided with anti-inflammatory medication and can be taken to reduce swelling and relive pain.

The main method of treatment is to drain blood from the ear and allow the cartilage to reconnect with the skin. A doctor will make an incision and keep the area compressed to drain the ear and reduce the inflammation.

SUMMARY

Causes:

  • Repeated injury to the ear caused by friction or impact
  • Common in contact sports such as rugby boxing and wrestling

Symptoms:

  • Pain in the ear at the point of injury
  • Swelling and bruising of the ear
  • Ear appears deformed and abnormal
  • Loss of hearing and disorientation from strikes to the ear area

Treatment:

  • Application of ice
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Draining of blood through the ear
  • Compression dressing
  • Antibiotics

Take a look at our taping tutorial used to protect your ears while playing rugby. Shop for the tape used here.

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