How Can I Tell if my Nose is Broken?

Last night I went swimming and I was diving off a diving board. I dove in and I guess I went too deep because when I went forward I smashed my nose into the bottom of the pool. It hurts really bad when I touch it and it hurts a little even when its not being touched. My dad says its not broken but he said the same thing when I had a broken arm so I wanted to hear from someone who knows what they're talking about.

Doctor Answers 2

Treatment of Nasal Fractures

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The most common symptoms of a nasal fracture include pain and bleeding at the time of the injury.  Following the injury discomfort, swelling, deviation and difficulty breathing can result.  You can go to your physician or ER for an evaluation including xray or CT scan but you need to consider what you will do with that information.  Unlike in arm or leg fractures where immediate repair is necessary for normal function, nasal fractures do not have the same urgency.  Even if a nasal fracture is identified if you don’t have any breathing problems or deviation no further treatment is necessary.  Management of nasal fractures really relies on the symptoms that are created by the injury.


The most consistent sign of a broken nose is bleeding

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Most nasal fractures will bleed profusely for a few minutes after the injury. Plain xrays are not as reliable as one might think.

Even if it is broken, it may be non-displaced. The best plan is to see if it looks straight; check if glasses or sunglasses fit well, and if you can breathe well.

If it is obviously out of place, contact your ear-nose throat surgeon or plastic surgeon. If not sure, wait about 4 days for the swelling to subside, but don't wait too long, as a repair may become bigger if too much time has allowed the bones to freeze in place.

Christopher J. Peers, MD
South Bend Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.