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
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)
- 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
- 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.