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First Aid for Broken Nose

Last updated March 5, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Jos Dielis

The majority of Broken Nose injuries heal without any serious complications, even if surgical treatment is required to realign or reconstruct the nose.

What is Broken Nose?

  • A Broken Nose occurs when a bone within the nose breaks or cracks. This injury frequently occurs to the bone over the bridge of the nose and involves the nasal cartilage (septum). The condition is also called Nose Fracture and is the most common type of facial fracture reported
  • Common causes associated with a Broken Nose include rough or high-impact sports, physical fights, falls, and automobile accidents. The injury may present pain, swelling, and bruising around the nose and beneath the eyes

What are the Causes of Broken Nose?

The causes of Broken Nose include:

  • Injury to the nose while participating in athletic activities or rough/high-impact sports (mainly boxing)
  • Physical quarrel, fights with other individuals, domestic violence
  • Any traumatic event, such as automobile, motorcycle, or bicycle accidents that cause injuries to the nose/face
  • Direct fall injuries that hurt the nose

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Broken Nose?

The signs and symptoms of Broken Nose include:

  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Tenderness and swelling of the nose and surrounding region
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Noticeable bruising around the nose or eyes
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Broken cartilage of the nose
  • Excessive mucus secretion from within the nasal cavity (rhinorrhea); nasal congestion

Excessive, heavy, and repetitive bleeding may cause lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting.

How is First Aid administered for Broken Nose?

First Aid tips for Broken Nose include:

  • Stay calm; breathe through the mouth (if breathing through the nose is painful, or if there is bleeding)
  • Sit upright and lean forward
  • Pinch your nose (nostrils) with the index finger and thumb
  • Do not release pressure to check if bleeding has stopped
  • Apply an icepack for 10-15 minutes (after bleeding is controlled); this may be continued for a few days thereafter
  • Avoid bending down and keep the head elevated, while resting
  • Administer a painkiller for controlling pain
  • Use a nasal decongestant in case of a minor breathing difficulty due to nose block
  • Visit a healthcare specialist for further assessment of the condition

Seek urgent medical help if:

  • Bleeding continues for over 20 minutes
  • There is drainage of fluid from the nose
  • Breathing difficulty persists
  • The cartilage or bone is broken; the face or nose appears distorted
  • An injury to the head, neck, or back is suspected

Who should administer First Aid for Broken Nose?

The injured individual or any bystander can administer first aid; however, the affected individual must seek medical assistance for a definitive management of Broken Nose.

What is the Prognosis of Broken Nose?

  • The majority of Broken Nose injuries heal without any serious complications, even if surgical treatment is required to realign or reconstruct the nose
  • A small percentage of individuals may require more than one reconstructive surgical procedure, usually for cosmetic reasons or to improve air flow in the nasal cavity

How can Broken Nose be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Broken Nose:

  • Individuals, who participate in any high-risk sports, such as football or hockey, should wear appropriate safety gear 
  • Provide a safe play environment to children
  • Wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle or bicycle
  • Wear a seatbelt while driving an automobile

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Staying upright and applying pressure continuously for 10 minutes to arrest bleeding
  • Appropriate and timely medical help, if the condition is severe

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 26, 2017
Last updated: March 5, 2018