The shape of the outer ear varies from one person to another and determined by the external elastic structure which is called the ear cartilage. Sometimes, pain in the ear cartilage can be experienced after trauma sustained to the external ear.
The cartilage of the ear is thin, flexible and elastic which provides shape to the ears and facilitates the sound that travels inside the ear. Cartilage is free of independent supply of blood and depends on the surrounding soft tissues called perichondrium.
Pain in the ear cartilage can be moderate or intense and there is inflammation and redness. It can be bilateral or unilateral pain which will depend on the cause. The individual will experience severe discomfort if there is pain in the ear cartilage.
Causes of ear cartilage pain
- An incorrect piercing method on the ear which has been a fad among young people.
- A high possibility of bacterial infection after a piercing, especially on the ear cartilage and pain is the most common symptom of an ear piercing on the cartilage that became infected. Take note that the pain becomes severe particularly when the individual sleeps on the ear with pain.
- Traumatic injury to the ear which will result to inflammation and pain such as a blunt object, a direct blow that happens when engaging in contact sports or cuts and lacerations caused by sharp objects. There is a risk for infection if the damaged area is bleeding.
- Pain in the ear cartilage can also occur after a procedure that involves the reshaping of the pinna of the outer ear which is known as pinnaplasty.
- Ear cartilage pain can occur due to perichondritis which is a condition where there is inflammation, pain and infection. Infection in the perichondrium can spread to the cartilage of the ear and cause pain and complications if not treated properly.
- Exposure to severe cold climates or heat of the sun can cause pain in the ear cartilage. Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause sunburn and result to a stinging and burning pain in the cartilaginous structure of the ear.
Treatment and home remedies of ear cartilage pain
- Anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics are usually given to manage the infection and inflammation of the ear cartilage in cases such as perichondritis.
- If there is severe infection that causes pus and abscess found in the soft tissue and cartilage, it is best to seek medical help immediately.
- Sometimes, a cough or common cold can cause the pain around the ear and in the cartilage. Treating the cough and cold will help lessen the pain.
- If pain was caused by sunburn, apply an ice pack for a few minutes at least 2-3 times to help relieve the pain. In case the pain is very severe and intense, seek medical help immediately.
- Provide the individual with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications if there is pain due to an infected piercing on the ear cartilage.
- Clean the infected piercing of the ear and apply coconut oil or aloe vera gel which provides a soothing and relaxing effect.