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What is Cauliflower Ear?

what is cauliflower ear

What is Cauliflower Ear?: A Rugby Players Curse!Topless man with a mousetash holding up his fists with the words come over here before I give you a cauliflower ear written over it

I’m guessing you are here because you are asking What is Cauliflower Ear?

Or maybe you want to find out more about what this condition is all about

There are many questions about them online and you are going to get all the answers right here

Table of Contents

  1. What is Cauliflower Ear?
  2. Why Do Rugby Players Get Cauliflower Ears?
  3. What Are The First Signs of Cauliflower Ears?
  4. What Can Prevent Cauliflower Ears?
  5. Can Cauliflower Ears be Treated?

I’ve seen my fair share of rugby players with this problem

Walking around like they are wearing a Bluetooth set on each ear

Let’s face it,

If you start a fight with a rugby player with swollen ears it’s not going to end well for you

You can guarantee that he isn’t shy from getting stuck in

So, What is Cauliflower Ear?

It’s not the medical term for it as you probably already guessed

But it has been called that for a long time due to the fact that player ears with this condition look like, well, cauliflowers

The correct name for this condition is Perichondrial Hematoma

Here is Googles definition of what it is

Cauliflower ear definition on Googles Dictionary

Repeated knocks and blows to the ears during games can, but not always, cause external infection or damage to the upper ear making them swollen and lumpy

Swollen and Lumpy sound like the dwarfs that didn’t make the cut for the movie with Snow White

Basically, it’s when the blood circulation has been cut off from the ear which causes the swelling and deformation

Why Do Rugby Players Get Cauliflower Ears?

Rugby always has, and always will be, one of the toughest sports in the world

So it is inevitable that will be some injuries in a game or two

Especially traumas to the head area whilst going in for tackles, or getting tackled

It’s more common in the forwards as they tend to do all the hard donkey work and get the most battering

And of course, there’s the scrum that they smash into

Bit of a fun fact here, did you know that the rugby scrum has the same force of impact as……

  • A car crash at 30mph
  • The charging of 2 male muskoxen
  • The bite of an adult crocodile
  • And me trying to give a piggyback to a rhino!

What Are The First Signs of Cauliflower Ears?

Don’t panic here, but you won’t suddenly start sprouting leaves from your inner ears

If you get a bang to the side of your head during a game

You will start to see some bruising and swelling after a short while if you are going to get the dreaded cauliflower ears

The shape of your ears will be a different shape than they normally are as well

That’s because the blood is building up around the damaged area

Pretty much like any bump you get on your body

But because the ear cartridge is extremely delicate

You will get more blood building up than in other areas you get a bump on

Obviously the severity of the traumas to the ears depends on how badly the symptoms will be so take note of what is happening after the ears have been injured

There are some common symptoms and of course severe symptoms to be aware of, which are…A cauliflower ear with bullet points about the symtoms

Cauliflower Ear Common Symptoms

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Slight Deformity

Cauliflower Ear Severe Symptoms

  • Ringing of The Ear
  • Headaches
  • Facial Swelling
  • Loss of Hearing
  • Blurred Vision
  • Severe Bleeding

If any of these symptoms occur then seek medical treatment straight away

What Can Prevent Cauliflower Ears?

Well one thing you can do to prevent cauliflower ears is to start doing ballet

I’ve never seen a ballet dancer with that problem

Or you could just wear a scrum cap to protect your ears and although they are not compulsory

Which I think they should be for everyone that plays

They could save you from having ears like the Shrek’s big toe

Can Cauliflower Ears be Treated?

The disfigurement will probably always be there if the scar tissue had formed

And might even deteriorate over time as you get older

Some people opt for cosmetic surgery but that can get expensive

There is no known medical treatment to make them better

But in the worst cases they might have to be treated by a professional

If you do have serious problems with your ears though,

Please go and see your GP as soon as possible

The earlier you catch the start of this common problem in rugby players

The more chance you will prevent any other complications later on in life

Here is a Quick Video on How to Treat Cauliflower Ears

One Last Thing Before You go

Do you suffer with this condition?

If so I would love to know how it has affected you in everyday life

Or even if they don’t bother you at all, just let me know

So, if there’s anything else you would like go know about this subject

Please feel free to ask me in the comment section and I will gladly get back to you.


Have any Questions or Comments?

6 comments on “What is Cauliflower Ear?

Jill Prince

OK… I really thought there was nothing on this planet left for me to learn… just kidding. But, in all seriousness, I’ve never heard of this, nor would I have ever imagined it. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not comes to mind.

I even used to know a rugby player, but I don’t recall his having unusual ears. Of course, he had an enlarged nose from having it broken so many times.

All in all, I am thinking ballet was a good choice for my daughters.

As a health coach, I would suggest a diet high in Omega 3’s to keep inflammation under control when the injuries first happen. Then redox signalling molecules could help with tissue regeneration and healing from old injuries. Vitamin E oil can help prevent scar tissue from forming as a fresh wound heals.

Your thoughts?


I really appreciate you taking time to share your remedies that might work with cauliflower ears. Hopefully people will see this and apply what you have shared with us, many thanks.



This is pretty interesting, cheers for sharing. I have always wondered what actually causes rugby players to get cauliflower ears. When I have watched rugby, I have wondered why some wear scrum caps and tape their ears on. I guess they are the more committed players. I thought that there would be some kind of treatment, but it seems not! All my sports require helmets, so I would be pretty unlucky to suffer from this. 


Try a bit of rugby to see if you like it 🙂

Lakisha Akbar

You’re right I did arrive here not knowing What Cauliflower Ear was? However, I do know that Rugby Players get swollen from all the roughness. Anyhow, I enjoyed your fun facts, they were a great analogy. Especially, comparing Cauliflower Ear to a car crash at 30mph.

Sounds a bit painful, to think about, especially when you’re not in a car but, in a game. Can Cauliflower Ear cause permanent disfigurement? The ear is probably the last body part, that I would think could be damaged so easily.

Either way, I’ve read somewhere online that the blood needs to be drained within 48 hours. What do you think? I know it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible but, is that when the ear will be drained?

Anyhow, I didn’t know that playing Rugby could cause so much trauma to the ears. Very interesting article and I must admit I learned a lot today. Thank you, for sharing this article.


The blood having to be drained depends on how severe the injury is that is why it is advised to get medical attention no matter how bad you think it is as soon as possible


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