Some fighters may consider cauliflower ear or scared knuckles to be badges of honor. Even the temporary black eye comes with a good story, but one war wound that is not as welcome is the head lump.
How the goose egg comes to be
This type of injury typically occurs from a bone-to-head collision. This can be in the form of an accidental head butt, elbows or knees to the head or even a face plant into the cage. A knot usually appears within a matter of minutes, but whether or not it will go down is not always a sure thing.
Anyone who has been in the fight game for any significant time knows a coach or two with some sort of odd bump somewhere on their head. It may not be glaringly apparent on first glance, but it is there. Regardless of your propensity for battle scars, this is one that no one wants to carry.
A normal bump or bruise occurs because a small blood vessel is broken under the skin. Blood pools and causes discoloration and swelling. This is also called a hematoma. These minor injuries disappear as the blood clot breaks down and reabsorbs. In some instances, like that of cauliflower ear, the blood may need to be surgically drained.
Head bump scar tissue
The head bump issue comes into concern when the impact is hard enough to injure the bone. Bone is a living tissue that has blood vessels and layers of cells. The impact can damage this tissue without causing a fracture. Sometimes as the bone heals the tissue gets thicker to form a protective layer, similar to that of a scar. This is what causes the permanent knot.
Minimization and urgency
There are a number of ways to minimize the risk of the “goose egg” becoming a part of your daily life, but they take diligence and a lot of finger crossing.
The most common and effective way to handle any bruise is the R.I.C.E. method:
This needs to happen as soon as possible. The smaller you can keep the swelling, the better. This is accomplished by applying ice immediately. Some cut men will recommend the use of pressure by way of something like “endswell” which allows for compression of the injury while simultaneously applying cold. Elevation is easy enough to accomplish as long as you are sitting up, although it should be noted that the blood could easily drain to cause a black eye depending on the location of the bump. The recommend amount of time and pressure is approximately 20 minutes at a time and should be repeated multiple times a day for several days. This may not get rid of the lump completely, but it is likely to reduce its severity.
When it won’t go away
A lump that feels watery or fluid-filled may have become a cyst. These can be drained similar to cauliflower ear, though there may be scar tissue already formed. If the lump remains for an extended period of time (months/years) the scar tissue can often be removed by a good plastic surgeon.
In most cases the appearance of a permanent goose egg is not a health risk, but it is a cosmetic concern for many fighters. This is especially true if it happens to form right in the middle of the forehead. No one wants to be nicknamed “The Unicorn.”