Cauliflower ear is a deformed outer ear caused by blunt injury that leads to swelling, bump-like appearance that looks like a cauliflower. The deformity is common among high school and college players, professional wrestlers, boxers and those who playing martial arts. A blunt trauma to the ear causes buildup of blood or blood clots found between the skin and cartilage of the ear while the interruption of blood flow to the affected area can damage the tissues. This condition should be treated immediately and if left untreated, can cause permanent deformity. To learn to recognize and manage the symptoms of ear injuries including cauliflower ear, register in a first aid course with a credible provider near you.
Causes of cauliflower ear
- It can be caused by direct trauma to the ear and repeated blows on the ear can cause hematoma which is a collection of blood found between the skin and cartilage in the ear and the skin separates from the cartilage.
- Cauliflower ear can be caused by infection in the ear lobe such as ear piercing.
- Cauliflower ear typically occurs among people playing contact sports such as boxing, wrestling, martial arts and rugby. A direct blow on the ear from other players and rubbing of heads when playing wrestling.
Treatment and home remedies of cauliflower ears
- Use a dry clean cloth and apply pressure directly on the outside part of the injured area. Cover the ear with the cloth and press the upper portion of the outer ear for 15-20 minutes. By applying pressure immediately after the injury, it will help in minimize internal bleeding and swelling of the tissue.
- Heat 2-3 cloves of garlic until soft and let it cool. Smash the garlic and press it against the affected area of the ear lobe and cover the garlic with a small towel in the ear lobe and keep it pressed for 15-20 minutes. Use the other garlic clove, squeeze and save the juice. Store it at room temperature and rub a little juice on the upper ear lobe at least 1-2 times a day.
- Place a cold cloth, ice pack or cold cabbage leaves on the outer ear lobe to minimize the swelling for 10-15 minutes at a time at least 2-3 times a day.
- Apply arnica ointment over the affected area 3-4 times a day for one week. Arnica helps in healing and helpful in treating injuries from sports such as sprains, fractures and tears. In addition, it is also helpful in treating bruises.
- Wrap tightly a bandage around the head and pressing the injured ear to the side of the head. This will keep the pressure on the ear and encourage healing. Before wrapping the head, apply either garlic juice or Arnica cream over the affected ear lobe. Place a cotton ball on each side of the ear lobe for cushioning inside the bandaging.
- Avoid further injury to the outer ear by wearing an athletic head gear designed to protect of the ears. Repetitive trauma to the ear can cause permanent damage to the tissue, loss of hearing and vertigo.