A broken nose can be a painful and traumatizing experience, and if you aren’t careful, you can break your nose more than once.
What Is a Broken Nose?
A broken nose also called a nasal fracture, occurs when you sustain a crack or break in a bone in your nose. The most common bone that’s affected is the front bone of the nose since that’s the part of your nose which sticks out the most.
What Causes a Broken Nose?
A blow to the nose can break it. Common ways people break their noses are while playing sports, riding bikes, car accidents, physical fights, and clumsiness that results in banging the nose on a hard surface.
What Are the Symptoms of a Broken Nose?
When you take a blow to the nose, sometimes it’s not easy at first to determine if you’ve broken it. You could experience swelling and bruising without a break.
If you have the following signs, you may have broken your nose:
- Serious nose pain
- Nose feels tender when touched
- Swelling on and around your nose
- Bruising around your nose or eyes
- Misshapen or crooked nose
- Hard to breathe through your nose
- Mucus flowing from your nose
- A stuffy nose that doesn’t drain, so you feel like one or both nasal passages are blocked
When Should I See a Doctor?
If you see any of the following symptoms, it’s important that you get emergency medical treatment immediately:
- Clear fluid draining from your nose
- A heavy nosebleed that won’t stop
- Difficulty breathing
- A head or neck injury, with a severe headache, neck pain, and vomiting. Call 911 immediately and avoid movement to prevent further injury.
- Loss of consciousness
If symptoms are limited to only minor swelling and bruising, you can wait a few days for the swelling to go down before you see a doctor. However, it’s always better to see a doctor, preferably an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor within a few days of the injury.
What Are the Risk Factors of an Untreated Broken Nose?
An untreated broken nose can lead to many issues and complications, such as:
- Facial deformities
- Septal hematoma (blood collects in the area of your nose between your nostrils)
- Deviated septum
- Breathing issues
- Snoring problems
- Persistent nose pain and facial tenderness
- Persistent nosebleeds
What Are the Treatment Options for a Broken Nose?
At-Home Care for a Broken Nose:
- Don’t breathe through your nose, breathe through your mouth.
- Ice your nose and face at least 4 times each day.
- Keep your head elevated, especially when you’re sleeping.
- Limit activities, especially sports, for at least 6 weeks.
Professional Medical Care for a Broken Nose:
- Manual realignment: Usually done within 2 weeks of the nose break, this procedure corrects the misaligned bones or cartilage in the nose. An ENT specialist will first give you pain medication to ease any discomfort. Then your doctor realigns the broken bones with special medical tools.
- Surgery: If the break is severe, or it happened more than 2 weeks prior to seeking medical care, nasal realignment surgery may be needed.
Surgery may also be needed if there is a nasal obstruction or deviated septum that’s making it hard for you to breathe.
If you have the signs of a broken or fractured nose, schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating broken or fractured noses. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at 212-873-6036 to schedule an appointment today.