What is a Broken Nose?
A broken nose, also referred to as a nasal fracture, is a crack, break, or fracture in one of the bones or cartilage of your nose. Broken noses most often occur in the septum, or bridge of the nose (area that divides one nostril from the other).
Causes of a Broken Nose
Most broken noses are the result of some type of impact and they can regularly occur when other injuries to the face or neck happen. The most common causes of broken noses are as follows:
- Contact during sporting events
- Car accidents
- Fighting, getting punched, or kicked in the nose
- Falling down and landing on your face
- Walking into objects such as a wall, tree, or door
- Biking, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding accidents
- Workplace accidents
Symptoms and Diagnosis of a Broken Nose
Symptoms of broken noses often include:
- A crooked, twisted, bent, or swollen nose
- Pain sensation in the nose
- Nose bleeds
- A congested or stuffy nose that feels like it won't go away or drain
- Grinding or rubbing noise or feeling when your nose moves
- Bruises in or around the nose and eyes
Diagnosis of a broken nose will typically involve a physical examination, application of anesthetic if you are in severe pain, x-rays, and/or CT scans.
Treatments for a Broken Nose
Severely broken noses may require immediate emergency care, or first air at home followed by visiting your doctor within the next few days.
Home treatment for a broken nose can involve:
- Take over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Lean forward while breathing through your mouth so that blood does not drain into your stomach.
- If your nose isn't bleeding, elevate your head to limit the throbbing or pulsing pain.
- Apply a cold washcloth or ice to reduce swelling
Medical treatment from your doctor may involve the following:
- Placing a splint on your nose
- Packing your nose with gauze to help reduce bleeding
- Manually realign your nose (closed reduction surgery) to the proper position after using a local anesthetic
- Surgical procedures (Rhinoplasty or septorhinoplasty) to repair or realign your nose or nasal septum