Auricular Chondritis: Definition, Symptoms & Treatment

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  • 0:05 Introductory Example
  • 0:30 What Is Auricular Chondritis?
  • 1:03 Symptoms & Treatment
  • 2:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Justine Fritzel

Justine has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years and has a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree.

Have you ever had a sore ear? In this lesson, we will learn what auricular chondritis is. We will learn what symptoms are associated with it and how to treat it.

Introductory Example

It was Mandy's sixteenth birthday. Her friends took her to a tattoo parlor to get a piercing for her birthday gift. She already had two piercings in each ear but she wanted to get a piercing in the upper part of her ear. It was painful but she got through it and she couldn't wait to go show all of her friends.

About a week later, Mandy started having pain in her ear. It was bad enough that her mom took her in to see the doctor. Dr. Jones told her that she had auricular chondritis.

What Is Auricular Chondritis?

The outer ear is made up of cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible material found in the ears, nose, and joints of our body. Cartilage makes up the shape of your ear. This outer area of your ear is called the auricle.

The auricle is made of cartilage.
ear anatomy

Mandy had auricular chondritis, which means inflammation of the cartilage on the outer ear. In her case, it was likely caused by the piercing that she got. Other causes of auricular chondritis can be from pressure to the ear, such as a headband or talking on the phone too much. Cuts, trauma, or even sunburn can cause it as well as certain skin conditions.

Symptoms and Treatment

Mandy was experiencing some of the most common symptoms of auricular chondritis. She had pain in the outer area of her ear. Her ear was also very red and sore to the touch. Additional symptoms can include a fever, achy feeling, swelling, and pus.

Dr. Jones explains to Mandy that auricular chondritis is treatable. He also explains that since the cartilage in our body doesn't have a blood supply running through it like other tissues of our body, it can take a long time for the cartilage to heal.

Since she had the piercing, she likely had an infection. He prescribed her antibiotics to take to eliminate the infection while her ear heals. He advises her to take ibuprofen to help with the pain and swelling. He further explains that she should monitor how her ear is looking. If it seems to be getting worse, she should come back to see him. The infection could get worse and may have pus in her ear that would need to be drained.

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