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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET CAULIFLOWER EAR FROM BJJ
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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET CAULIFLOWER EAR FROM BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be an extremely rough combat sport, with its series of high impact maneuvers, and its ability to use heavy top game pressure on an opponent. With the intensity of the sport many athletes can find themselves stuck in a precarious position being grinded by their opponents. This rough style of grappling can cause some of the more common jiu jitsu injuries like the dreaded cauliflower ear. This injury is quite common in BJJ, and is sustained to the ear of an athlete during an intense battle of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

What this article covers:

The technical term for cauliflower ear is a perichondrial hematoma, and it can be quite deadly for an athlete if it is not treated quickly. The cauliflower ear is a direct result of a blunt force trauma to the ear from some kind of hard impact, or the result of a grinding pressure dragged across the ear cartilage, causing the ear to swell up, and fill with blood.Many other combat sports like Wrestling, Judo, Sambo, Mixed Martial Arts, Muay Thai, and Kickboxing also have significant problems with athletes suffering from the cauliflower ear. Most hematomas to the ear happen after a hard blow like a punch, kick, or a take down. Once an athlete suffers from a bout of cauliflower ear bjj, it becomes significantly hard to stop the recurring injury. Because a hematoma will continue to swell, and fill with blood, and once the ear suffers an impact, athletes must find a way to stem the flow in order to continue their training. Although the cauliflower ear can be extremely serious to the point where it needs cosmetic surgery, many high level athletes are proud to wear the badge of honour. The cauliflower ear serves like a degree in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as most formidable grapplers have some form of cauliflower in their ears.

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how long does it take to get cauliflower ear from the bjj

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THE DREADED CAULIFLOWER EAR

An athlete is divided 50/50 when it comes to suffering from the cauliflower ear. Some athletes can see the seriousness of this condition, while others love the fact that their ears are mangled up like many high level Brazilian athletes. The cauliflower ear, or otherwise known as a perichondrial hematoma is a condition that affects the ear. Once an athlete suffers from a blunt force trauma to the ear region, the ear can start to develop a fluid buildup, or blood clotting right up under the perichondrium. This process can cause a debilitating issue, as the separation of the perichondrium, and the cartilage will cause significant duress for an athlete. The overlying skin of the ear will then swell instantly after impact, as a result of fibrous tissue degeneration, and this will cause the deformity known as the cauliflower ear. The skin that covers the ear is quite thin, and there are no deeper layers of tissue that can sustain a heavy impact. This can leave the ear extremely exposed to trauma, as the blood will accumulate between the perichondrium, and the cartilage of the ear. This will create a problem, as the blood flow will be obstructed from the perichondrium to the avascular cartilage. As there is no blood flow this can put the cartilage at an extremely dangerous risk of becoming infected, or dying. All of these conditions will cause the blood to fill up in the ear, resulting in swelling, kinks, and twists, forming what is known as the cauliflower ear.  

WHY DO YOU GET CAULIFLOWER EAR

Cauliflower ear is a consequence of trauma to the ear, which is common in combat sports like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, and others. When the ear is subjected to a blunt force impact or grinding pressure, it can cause blood to accumulate under the skin, separating the skin from the cartilage, which in turn leads to a perichondrial hematoma. This hematoma is the body's response to injury, where it collects blood and fluids in an attempt to heal. The sustained pressure from this fluid buildup causes the cartilage - which gets its nutrients from the overlying skin - to die off and subsequently be replaced by fibrous tissue. This fibrous tissue, over time, leads to the lumpy, deformed appearance known as cauliflower ear.

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HOW DOES AN ATHLETE SUSTAIN A CAULIFLOWER EAR

Sustaining a cauliflower ear to some athletes is seen as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu badge of honour, to others it can be quite painful, and embarrassing. There are multiple ways an athlete can sustain a perichondrial hematoma, and most commonly it is from a blunt force trauma to the ear region. Athletes can suffer from cauliflower ears after striking training, where they may receive blows to the head. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the trauma can come from a few different scenarios. Takedowns are always a concern, because an athlete can land on their ear during a fall. After a takedown an athlete will scramble to gain a significant control position, and during this period they can land heavily on their opponent forcing an injury to the ear. A smart athlete will always use caution when facing an opponent, as the importance of balance is crucial for staying ahead of any unwanted injuries. 

Another common way for an athlete to suffer from the dreaded cauliflower ear, is during the transition process. A top game player will focus on heavy pressure to control their opponent, and this can be the catalyst for the necessity of the bjj recovery process, regarding an athlete's ear. Transitioning from one control position to the next, can bring about an athlete grinding their shin, or their forearms across their opponent's ear. This is one of the most common ways that an ear will blow up, and fill full of blood. There are many different maneuvers that can cause heavy grinding across an opponent's ear like the kimura setup, an arm bar setup, or even chokes like the guillotine, the rear naked choke, the darce choke, and the head arm choke, and all of these can cause significant damage to an ear if an athlete does not defend well. After a significant impact, an ear hematoma can be extremely deadly, and can swell up really quickly. This will force an athlete to take a rest period, consult a doctor, or even tape it up just like an athlete will begin taping fingers for jiu jitsu.  

There are always unintentional accidents in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and newcomers to the art are usually erratic, clumsy, and unbalanced. The result of this is accidental knees, or elbows to the head. There can also be an unintentional pressure on an opponent during a transition, all of these aspects can cause an athlete to incur a cauliflower ear. A more experienced grappler can always move from one position to the next without injuring their opponent, as they have a deeper understanding of how to shift their body pressure during the transition process. Escaping from certain submissions can also cause a hematoma to the ear, and this is because a student will recklessly drag their head out of the position. What a student should be doing is using a technical escape, and using frames to set up a better way to escape from the clutches of a submission.

HOW LONG CAN IT TAKE TO SUFFER A EAR INJURY

Training in an art like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be extremely grueling, as the intensity of the sport can be brutal. BJJ competitors can often have five to ten matches in one division with little rest periods in between. Considering all of the rough play involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, along with the extremely brutal impacts from the standing game, and all of the submission ferocity, it's no wonder athletes do get injured. BJJ athletes show very little concern for the safety of their head, and neck area, as they often will not tap out when they are stuck in choke holds. Some athletes will go as far as to let themselves be choked unconscious during competitive matches. Even though this may be brave, and does embody the spirit of a warrior, it also leaves the door open for significant injuries like a perichondrial hematoma. In some cases suffering from a cauliflower ear can happen in seconds after an impact, as all it takes is one hard blow, and the ear can swell up. The skin on the ear is quite thin, with no underlying deep tissue, meaning any forceful impact can cause significant trauma to the ear region. Some athletes will train for decades and not receive any cauliflower ears, and you can bet it is mainly due to how cautiously they tread during competitive matches.

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WHAT TO DO WITH CAULIFLOWER EAR

Immediate medical attention is crucial when you suspect a cauliflower ear. The first step is often to drain the accumulated blood from the hematoma using a needle and syringe. This procedure is typically performed in a sterile medical setting to prevent infection. After drainage, it's important to apply pressure to the area to prevent further fluid buildup. This can be done using compression bandages or splints. If there's a significant deformity or if the cauliflower ear is chronic (fully formed), surgical intervention may be necessary. It's also crucial during recovery to avoid further trauma to the ear to prevent exacerbation of the condition or formation of another hematoma.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR A HEMATOMA

Dealing with a cauliflower ear can be quite tricky, as there is no definitive treatment method that stands out above the rest. There have been a lot of studies into how to cure a perichondrial hematoma, with very little success. At the end of the day when you are dealing with an ear that has a very thin layer of skin covering the ear cartilage, it can be extremely hard to avoid forceful impacts to that region. Therefore finding a cure may never happen at all, instead athletes will need to find other methods to reduce the pain, and swelling, so they can prevent the injuries from happening in the first place. The most reliable information in the world comes from a doctor, who says to use a needle to drain the blood from the hematoma. This is usually done at a doctor's surgery, and with a syringe, but once a student has had significant experience with this injury it can be syringed from their own home. If an athlete does not receive treatment quickly then their ear can become extremely deformed, which can lead to even more serious problems inside their nasal cavity, and their inner ear.

There are several other ways for an athlete to drain the blood out of their ear. Other than using a syringe, athletes can use other suction devices, or using a wick which is placed inside the ear to help drain the blood, or a doctor can even make an incision which can help to relieve the swelling. All of these ways have had success for different athletes, and it really comes down to which one suits. Once the ear has been drained the huge problem will always be the recurring swelling, as athletes have been known to drain their ears numerous times, which can be quite troublesome. These kinds of problems can hinder an athlete's training, and may even force them to stop entirely, or for several weeks, as they try to let the swelling come down. Athletes will need to learn how to tape their ears with compression bandages, as this is a good way to stop the bleeding, and possibly even prevent the swelling. There are other pieces of equipment that can work well for athletes like direct pressure dressings, in and out mattress sutures, thermoplastic splints, sutured cotton balls, and absorbable mattress sutures. One of the most important aspects of treating a perichondrial haematoma is to drain it rather quickly after impact. If an athlete waits too long then this can cause significant damage, and deformity of the ear. In some cases athletes will need cosmetic surgery to help repair the damaged cartilage, and the perichondrium. This is not the most ideal situation, as any surgeries can keep an athlete off of the training mats for an extended amount of time.

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HOW LONG DOES CAULIFLOWER EAR LAST

The duration of cauliflower ear varies greatly, and it largely depends on the severity of the injury and the effectiveness of the treatment applied. With quick and appropriate treatment, which often includes draining the blood from the hematoma and applying pressure to prevent re-filling, symptoms can start to subside within a few days to a week. However, if left untreated, the blood in the ear will eventually clot, and the resultant fibrous tissue that forms can cause permanent changes to the shape and structure of the ear. This condition, known as cauliflower ear, is irreversible. Thus, cauliflower ear, in its chronic and untreated form, lasts indefinitely. It's crucial that athletes seek medical attention as soon as they suspect they've developed a perichondrial hematoma, to avoid such permanent deformity.

DOES CAULIFLOWER EAR GO AWAY

The early symptoms of cauliflower ear such as swelling, redness, and pain can diminish with proper and prompt treatment. However, once the ear cartilage has been damaged and replaced by fibrous tissue - resulting in the distinctive deformity of cauliflower ear - the condition is irreversible without surgical intervention. The altered appearance of the ear, once it has formed into the 'cauliflower' shape, does not go away on its own. That's why early detection and treatment are vital to prevent the permanent changes associated with this condition. It's important for athletes, particularly those in grappling or combat sports, to use protective equipment and practice safe techniques to minimize the risk of developing cauliflower ear.

HOW TO PREVENT CAULIFLOWER EARS

Learning how to prevent cauliflower ear bjj can be extremely hard, as most preventative measures that work for training are illegal in competition BJJ. Athletes will wear ear guards, or head protection, as a way to stop their training partner's from applying significant pressure to their ears. The IBJJF does not allow this kind of head, or ear protection in their competitions, and for good reason. This means that athletes will have to rely upon taping their ears, or avoiding impact all together. Athletes that develop their game style, and use really good framing, will find it is an easy way to avoid forceful pressure to the head region. If an athlete gets lazy, and just allows their opponent to pressure their head, they are going to wind up with some serious injuries.

Learn the gripping strategies used by Judo Olympian and BJJ black belt Travis Stevens to control your opponents.  Get it at BJJFanatics.com!

How Long Does It Take to Get Cauliflower Ear in BJJ

Athletes must learn how to use technical escapes out of all positions, and submissions. Using strength is not an escape, as this can leave an athlete vulnerable to grinding pressure across their ear. There are many athletes that are extremely strong that think they can just muscle their way out of any position, and yes this can work, but after they escape they are going to wind up with cauliflower ears. Athletes should not use strength to drag their head out of bad positions, instead using technical escaping methods almost always work to avoid significant trauma to their ears. This is the number one preventative measure to stifle any blunt force trauma, which can be applied to an athlete's ear.

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