Posted on: July 7, 2009 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 1

If you look carefully at the ears of amateur boxers, football players, and collegiate wrestlers, you may notice that their ears are quite deformed and puffy. Many people in contact sports wear their cauliflower ears like battle-scars or a badge of honor, but they can do more harm than good. If you suffer from this particular athletic injury, here are some ways to relieve the pain and restore your ear back to its normal look.

Causes of Cauliflower Ear

Cauliflower ear is a hematoma caused by trauma to the tissues of the external ear. The condition is often seen among boxers and wrestlers, although you may also get cauliflower ear if you sustain a high-impact blow to your ear. The appearance of cauliflower ear is hardly appealing, but it can cause other serious ear problems:

  • Hearing loss. Trauma sustained by the destruction of cartilage and other connective tissue in the outer ear can cause blood to accumulate, and subject the middle and inner ear to a lot of pressure. If too much pressure builds up in the ear, you may end up with permanent hearing loss.
  • Pain. If getting slammed, kicked, or punched on your ear is not painful enough, the damage that accompanies cauliflower ear is much more painful. Cauliflowered ears are very tender to the touch, and you may run the risk of rupturing the wound. (More information on Pain)


Sport doctors and physicians recommend that cauliflower ear be treated immediately to avoid any risk of permanent hearing loss or cosmetic damage. When the cartilage calcifies, you may also run the risk of developing skin cancer, or that the ear will look very unappealing and gross. Here’s how doctors treat cauliflower ear:

  1. Painkillers or analgesics are administered to the patient to reduce the pain. Swelling may also be reduced with anti-inflammatory medication.
  2. A needle and syringe is inserted into the ear, and some of the fluid is drained out of the swollen earlobe.
  3. A chemical substance (usually a steroid) is filled into the space inside the cauliflowered ear. The steroid stops the capillaries and other blood vessels from bleeding inside the ear, and prevents the risk of infection or further swelling.
  4. The steroid is removed, and the blood vessels of the earlobe are clamped to prevent further damage. Tape, gauze, or a cast is used to protect the ear until healing is complete.
  5. For severe earlobe damage, cosmetic surgery may be needed to restore the ear.
  6. The doctor will prescribe


Cauliflower ear is one malady that is very easy to prevent. Most collegiate wrestling team members and amateur boxers wear protective headgear and ear guards. Protective equipment prevent crushing blows or high-impact takedowns from damaging your outer ear, and cause the pain and swelling associated with cauliflower ear. For competitive amateur wrestling, you can also prevent cauliflower ear by maneuvering your body in such a way that you can protect your head and prevent injury to the rest of your body.

Cauliflower ear may be a symbol of courage or a testament to hard-won battles, but it can cause many health problems in the long run. With these steps, you can minimize the risk of hearing damage and preserve the look of your ear. If you enjoy reading this article, you’ll surely enjoy learning how to use ear candles.

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