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Broken Nose

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Broken Nose Overview

A broken nose is any crack or fracture in the bony portion of the nose.

Broken Nose Causes

Causes of a broken nose are related to trauma to the nose or face. Common sources of trauma include the following:

  • Sports injury
  • Personal fights
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls

Broken Nose Symptoms

Signs that suggest a person has a broken nose may include the following:

  • Tenderness when touching the nose
  • Swelling of the nose or face
  • Bruising of the nose or under the eyes (black eye)
  • Deformity of the nose (crooked nose)
  • Nosebleed
  • When touching the nose, a crunching or crackling sound or sensation like that of rubbing hair between 2 fingers
  • Pain and difficulty breathing out of the nostrils

When to Seek Medical Care

Call the doctor if any of the following occur:

  • The pain or swelling does not go away in 3 days.
  • The nose looks crooked.
  • Breathing through the nose is not possible after the swelling has gone down.
  • A fever develops.
  • Recurring nosebleeds develop.
  • A significant injury that requires medical attention possibly exists.

Go to a hospital’s emergency department immediately if the following signs or symptoms are present:
 

  • Bleeding for more than a few minutes from one or both of the nostrils
  • Clear fluid draining from the nose
  • Other injuries to the face or the body
  • Loss of consciousness (fainting)
  • Severe or unrelenting headaches
  • Repeat vomiting
  • Decrease or change in vision
  • Neck pain
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms
  • Significant injury that may require immediate medical attention

Exams and Tests

In the emergency department, a doctor will examine the head and neck.

  • The doctor will inspect the outside and the inside of the nose, often using special instruments. Expect the examination to be somewhat painful.
  • Depending on the injuries, the doctor may perform a thorough exam.
  • Doctors do not recommend x-ray films and blood work routinely because these tests do not alter the course of treatment.
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