Cauliflower Ear in Jiu-Jitsu How to Treat and Prevent it

BJJ is a great martial art if you wish to get in shape and learn a useful self-defense skill. But for all that it’s worth – it’s not devoid of injuries that may befall you. There are a few BJJ specific injuries – most of them are torn menisci or ligaments, finger arthritis and elbow soreness from all of those armbars. But if there is one injury that BJJ is “renowned” for, then it would have to be the cauliflower ear.

What is cauliflower ear?

This injury can happen if you get a hard blow to one of your ears – which, considering the nature of the sport and martial art of BJJ – is likely to happen to you from time to time. This blow may sever the connection between the cartilage of the ear and the perichondrium. The space that is created by this gets filled with fluid. If it is not drained as soon as possible, the fluid will get hardened and your ear will become permanently deformed. It doesn’t only look bad aesthetically, but it can also worsen your hearing. So, how do you prevent it and, if it happens, how do you treat it?

Headgear to prevent cauliflower ear

The best prevention is wearing protective headgear. This is not a beautiful piece of equipment to look at – nor is it comfortable to wear in most cases. But if you wish to prevent the incidence of cauliflower ears – then wearing protective headgear may be the best thing that you could do. The headgear will provide a coating for your ears so as to protect them from blows.

headgear Cauliflower ear

The only other way in which you can prevent the cauliflower ears – except not training BJJ – is to be really mindful of your ears while you roll. Of course, this is almost impossible to accomplish for most BJJ practitioners, as it’s very easy to get lost in the moment and think about what move to perform next on your opponent and how to defend from his attacks – you will likely completely forget about your ears during any rolling session. Roll gently and try not to get your ears in trouble.

Go to a doctor…

You’re rolling and all of a sudden you get a blow in the ear and the ear starts filling with fluids. What do you do then? Well, the best course of action would be to go to the doctor immediately. Again, the fluids can harden in a few days and after this, you may need surgery to get your ears back in their original shape. So, it’s important to act quickly. It’s also important to know that not all doctors are cognizant of this condition – so, always try to find an ear specialist. They are likely going to know what to do and they will clean your ear out.

Cauliflower ear draining

Your final option is to get the job done yourself. Get an insulin syringe and drain the puss from your ear on your own. Make sure that you sterilize the area before and after the “surgery”. It can seem unpleasant to stick a needle in your ear and drain it of fluids but if there is no other option – then you might have to do this. Of course, we must mention that this paragraph is not a doctor’s advice and that if you don’t know what you’re doing you may end up doing more harm than good. So, always try to see a doctor first. If you do the right things in the quickest time possible after the injury has occurred – you will end up saving the shape of your ear.