Nose injuries often occur
during play, sports, accidents, fights, and falls. Pain, swelling, and bruising
are common, even with minor injuries. Home treatment can usually help relieve
It may be hard to tell if your
nose is broken. Swelling can make your nose look crooked even if it is not
broken. When the swelling goes down after a few days, it is easier to tell if
your nose is really crooked. Most doctors prefer to check an injured nose
soon after the swelling has gone down. Sometimes, testing may be needed, such
computed tomography (CT) scan of the head, if other
facial injuries or fractures are suspected. See a picture of a
broken nose .
Whether or not your nose
is broken, a nose injury is more serious when:
- You have a nosebleed that you can't stop. See
how to stop a nosebleed .
- The skin of your nose is cut or
punctured, especially if you think your nose may be broken. This increases your
- A blood clot forms in the
tissue that separates the nostrils (septum). This
can create a hole (perforation) in the septum or cause the bridge of the nose
to collapse (saddle nose deformity).
- You think the injury may have
been caused by
abuse. Physical abuse often causes bruises, burns,
fractures, head injuries, and other injuries. If you suspect abuse, seek help.
You can call a local child or adult protective services agency, the police, a
spiritual adviser, or a health professional such as a doctor, nurse, or
- You have
persistent drainage from one or both nostrils. This may be caused by
cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) draining from the brain into
the nose (CSF rhinorrhea) and can occur after a head injury or after surgery on
the nose or ears. There is a chance you may get a CSF infection, such as
meningitis, which can affect the nervous system and be
Most broken noses heal
without problems. When problems develop, they can include:
- A change in the size or shape of the nose, or a
crooked or bent nose. Multiple nose injuries, especially during childhood,
increase the risk of damage to the tissues and structures in the nose. This can
cause long-term problems.
- Trouble breathing or nasal
infection of the nose,
sinuses , or bones in the face.
abnormality in the tissue that separates the nostrils (deviated nasal septum ).
- A hole (perforation) in the septum.
- Severe infection,
such as meningitis or a
brain abscess, or other CSF infection.
Treatment of a simple fracture, when the
bone is still in place, usually includes pain medicine and nasal decongestants.
You may or may not need a nasal splint.
If your nose is broken and
out of place, it may need to be set. Most doctors like to wait for any swelling
to go down before setting a broken nose. Most swelling goes down after 2 or 3
days but may take as long as 7 to 14 days. After the nose is set, nasal packing
may be inserted and a splint may be applied. You may be given antibiotics to
help prevent infection if packing is used. Your doctor may want to recheck your
nose and remove the packing in 2 to 3 days.
When you have a nose injury, it is important to look for
other injuries to the head, face, and neck, such as a broken cheekbone, an eye
injury, an injury to the mouth or teeth, or a cervical spine injury. If you
think there are other injuries, use the topics in the Related Information
section to evaluate these injuries.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.