A common concern for boxers and MMA fighters is developing cauliflower ear. If you’ve ever seen an athlete with strange looking ears, there’s a good chance it’s cauliflower ear. Well known and successful MMA fighters such as Randy Couture have developed the deformity. Cauliflower ear can look a little gross, but some fighters wear it like a badge of honour.
By participating in full contact sports such as boxing, MMA or rugby you put yourself at risk of developing this issue. But there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening. In this article we will outline what you should know about the condition as well as provide information on how to prevent cauliflower ear after injury.
What is Cauliflower Ear?
Cauliflower ear is a deformity that is caused by blunt trauma or injury to the ear. Damage to the ear prevents proper blood flow and causes the cartilage in the ear to die and scar tissue to form. This leads to the gnarly appearance of a bumpy or lumpy ear. If untreated the appearance of cauliflower ear can be permanent though early treatment can reduce the chance of permanent disfigurement.
Cauliflower ear is not dangerous, but the injury that lead to the condition could very well be something to be concerned about. Always follow safety procedures set out by your coach to prevent injuries and seek medical attention for suspected concussions. Our article “Is MMA Dangerous” provides insight into what risks are involved in MMA fighting beyond cauliflower ear.
How to Prevent It
Cauliflower ear is preventable. The best way to not get cauliflower ear is to not get hit in the ears repeatedly. But doing that is clearly an issue for MMA fighters and boxers. So how can you prevent cauliflower ear? Your first step is to wear protective headgear when possible. Though MMA fighters will not be able to wear headgear in the ring, they can reduce their exposure by wearing headgear during training. Consider asking a qualified MMA or boxing instructor for their best tips in preventing cauliflower ear.
How to Treat It
If you’ve sustained a head injury and want to reduce your chance of developing cauliflower ear you should seek treatment promptly. A doctor should be able to reduce the chance of cauliflower ear by helping blood to flow properly through your ear. They will do this by making an incision and draining any blocked or clotted blood from the injured area. Additionally, they may repair the tissue in your ear with stitches or bandages.
Do I Need to Worry?
Some MMA fighters are not concerned about the appearance of cauliflower ear. Instead they choose to wear it as a badge of honour or as an indication of their experience in the ring. If you aren’t concerned about its appearance, then you don’t need to be worried about obtaining treatment at all. Though you don’t necessarily need to treat your ear, always seek medical care for trauma to the head.