Cartilage Piercing Bump

Body piercing may be the “in” thing. However, when it gets infected it can be very painful and not at all fashionable. The outer ear is made of cartilage. It is called pericondrium. When the ear cartilage is infected, this condition is known as pericondritis. The most common cause of pericondritis is ear piercing. However, any other trauma caused to the outer ear will also cause pericondritis. This can be a very painful condition and you need to get immediate medical treatment. Therefore, if you have pierced the cartilage and are experiencing pain, and can observe a cartilage piercing bump, book an appointment at with your doctor as infections can be bothersome and be an unnecessary health hazard.

Cause and Symptoms of Infected Cartilage


Pain, redness and swelling are common with any piercing. This will disappear in a few days or weeks. A whitish fluid will also secrete from the piercing and will be followed later on by a yellowish crust. You can breathe easier when this happens as your pierced area has begun to heal. However, there are some warning symptoms that indicate infections. If you experience pain, swelling and redness and can observe pus or blood draining out of the piercing, as well as, a bump on ear cartilage piercing, then the piercing site has certainly become infected and will need antibacterial treatment orally as well as topically.

Most infections are characterized with inflammation, burning pain and often, fever. Redness and swelling along with the cartilage piercing bump are sometimes normal. However, if it does not go away after 2-3 days, it can be an infection. Severe swelling, inflammation and burning pain that does not go away after 5-6 days after the piercing is a sure sign of infection.

Infections of the cartilage occur if proper sanitization of the site and instruments take place at the time of piercing. Proper care should be taken to cleanse the pierced area. Most people may also get ear lobe infection if they are allergic to the piercing equipment or the composition of the material out of which the earring or the ear stud is made of. A professional piercer needs to use sterilized equipment when piercing and once pierced; the area should be washed with a saline solution. If you are experiencing an ear piercing bump without any signs of infection, washing it out with a saline solution will reduce the bump.


A bump on ear cartilage piercing can also be due to a keloid. Keloids are scars. They rise above the rest of the skin. Keloids are smooth, pink in colour and sometimes itch and can be painful when touched. Over time, a keloid may enlarge or extend beyond the affected site. Keloids occur due to slight inflammation, burns and piercings. The cause of keloids is not known. However, it is common for a person affected with keloids to be susceptible to have more scares of similar nature through any other medical procedure as well.

Hypertrophic Scarring

Another reason for an ear piercing bump is due to hypertrophic scarring. Often mistaken for a keloid, a hypertrophic scar is similar in appearance to the keloid. However, it will not enlarge and spread unlike the keloid. Most often this type of scarring occurs when something goes wrong with the healing process. However, after some time it will shrink and lighten in colour and resolve itself.

Treatment Methods

When an ear piercing gets infected, it is essential to seek medical advice. Most often, a health care provider will prescribe antibiotics that will help to heal the infected ear. Using a saline solution or salt sprays in the affected area will help prevent infections once the ears are pierced. If you are careful with the aftercare of the piercing, you can avoid infections to a large degree.

Keloids can be treated by topical creams, surgical removal, and non-surgical intervention or combination treatments. However, the results may be unsatisfactory. Keloids cannot be prevented in those who are susceptible to developing such scares. The best you can do is to try to avoid any medical procedures that may cause scarring.

Whatever the case may be, it is recommended that you seek medical advice if you experience a cartilage piercing bump with or without infection. Early medical advice and treatment may help to avoid unnecessary complications.