Broken nose

A broken nose or a nasal fracture refers to a crack or break of the bone in the nose. Usually the bone located over the bridge of the nose is affected.

Causes

  • Injuries resulting from contact sports such as football
  • Physical assault
    Broken nose

    Broken nose injury

  • Fist fights
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Walking into a hard surface
  • Boxing or wrestling type games

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms may appear promptly after the physical trauma or may take a few days to kick in. Some of the common ones include:

  • Swelling of and/or around the nose
  • Nose bleeding
  • Tenderness and pain while touching the nose
  • Deformed or crooked nose
  • Bruising on and/or around the nose and around the eyes
  • Breathing difficulties through the nose
  • Rhinorrhea–discharge of mucus
  • Feeling as if one or both nostrils are blocked

When to seek medical help

Seek immediate medical attention if the injury involves the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Head or neck injury is suspected due to severe headache, vomiting, neck pain and unconsciousness
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • An unusual shape of your nose–not due to swelling–the nose may seem twisted
  • Clear drainage from the nose

Treatment

1. Seek medical help if the following problems result from the injury:

  • Bleeding cannot be stopped
  • The nostril seems to be out of place or twisted
  • Clear, gel like drainage comes out of the nose

2. Treat symptoms of the condition

  • Allow the casualty to rest with his head elevated to discourage bleeding, also while sleeping
  • For pain and swelling, apply an ice pack over the affected region
  • Do not allow the casualty to blow his nose to discharge fluids
  • For pain, over the counter pain medication can be taken. Avoid giving NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

If the nose does not seem deformed or unusual, plenty of rest at home will suffice. If you suspect that the nose is severely broken due to it being twisted or crooked, see your doctor immediately. Quick treatment will bring about speedy recovery.

For bleeding, the doctor will apply gauze on the nostrils.

For a fracture, the nose will be straightened out by the doctor.

Surgery is only required for complicated fractures in order to move the bone back in its place.

Courses that include training in managing and recognizing broken and fractured bones:

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