Nasal Fracture (Broken nose): Types, Symptoms, and Treatment | PreferredMD
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Nasal Fracture (Broken nose): Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

Condition • By Biraj Patel

Nasal fracture, commonly known as broken nose, can result from various accidents or injuries. Read on to explore a comprehensive overview of nasal fractures, including their types, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Types of nasal fractures

Nasal bone fracture types include:

  • Linear fractures: These fractures involve a straight break in the nasal bone without any displacement.
  • Displaced fractures: In these cases, the nasal bone is not only broken but also shifted from its original position.
  • Comminuted fractures: This type involves multiple breaks, often resulting in more complex injuries.
  • Greenstick fractures: Typically seen in children, these fractures involve an incomplete break on one side of the nasal bone.

Broken nose symptoms

Detecting a broken nose can be done by observing specific signs and symptoms. While a proper medical evaluation is essential for an accurate diagnosis, here are some indicators that can help you determine if a nose is broken:

  • Pain and tenderness: A broken nose often causes immediate pain and tenderness in the nasal area. Gently touching or pressing on the nose may elicit discomfort.
  • Swelling and bruising: Swelling and bruising around the nose and under the eyes can develop shortly after the injury. This can make the nose appear larger and change its shape.
  • Deformity or crookedness: A visible deformity or change in the shape of the nose, such as it appearing crooked or misaligned, is a common sign of a nasal fracture.
  • Difficulty breathing: If you experience difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils after an injury, it could be due to a nasal fracture. The bones or cartilage inside the nose may be displaced, obstructing the airflow.
  • Bleeding: Nosebleeds (epistaxis) can occur as a result of a broken nose. If bleeding is profuse or persistent, seek medical attention.
  • Crepitus: When gently touching the nose, you may feel or hear a crackling or grating sensation known as crepitus. This occurs due to the movement of fractured bone ends.
  • Clear fluid drainage: A clear fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) may leak from the nose if there is a fracture that extends into the area around the brain. This is a serious sign and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Painful movement: Pain or discomfort when moving the nose or the surrounding facial area is another indication of a possible fracture.
  • Instability: If the bones of the nose feel unstable or move abnormally when touched, this can be a sign of a fracture.

Not all nasal fractures exhibit these symptoms, and some symptoms may overlap with other nasal injuries. If you suspect a broken nose, it's best to seek medical attention from a healthcare professional, particularly an ENT doctor or an urgent care facility. They can perform a thorough evaluation, which may include physical examination and imaging, to accurately diagnose and recommend appropriate treatment.

Broken nose aftercare

After a nasal fracture, it's essential to:

  • Follow medical advice regarding rest and activity limitations.
  • Take prescribed pain medication and antibiotics if necessary.
  • Avoid blowing your nose forcefully.
  • Keep the head elevated while sleeping to reduce swelling.

Common causes of broken nose

Sports injuries 

Participating in contact sports like football, soccer, basketball, rugby, and martial arts increases the risk of a broken nose due to collisions, falls, or direct impacts.

Physical altercations

Punches, kicks, or other types of blows to the face during fights or altercations can easily lead to a broken nose.


Tripping, slipping, or falling can result in a person landing face-first, causing trauma to the nose and potentially leading to a fracture.

Motor vehicle accidents

Car accidents, especially those involving head-on collisions or airbag deployment, can cause the face to impact the steering wheel, dashboard, or other hard surfaces.

Accidental trauma

Accidental encounters with hard objects, walls, doors, or other items can result in a broken nose, especially if the impact is forceful.

Recreational activities

Activities like skateboarding, rollerblading, biking, and snowboarding carry a risk of falls and collisions that can lead to a nasal fracture.

Work-related injuries

Certain occupations, such as construction, where workers are exposed to hazardous environments, heavy machinery, or potential falls, can increase the risk of a broken nose.

Domestic accidents

Accidents that occur at home, such as slipping in the bathroom or running into furniture, can also lead to a broken nose.

Nasal fracture treatments

Nasal fracture reduction

Non-displaced fractures can be managed with manual realignment of the bones, often performed within the first few hours after the injury.

Nasal fracture surgery

Displaced or complex fractures may require surgical intervention, which involves realigning and fixing the bones with plates, screws, or wires.

Consult with an ENT doctor in PreferredMD network

Nasal fracture, or broken nose, can vary in severity and require prompt and appropriate management. By understanding the types, symptoms, and treatment options, individuals can seek timely medical attention and take steps to prevent such injuries. Consulting an ENT doctor is crucial for a comprehensive evaluation and tailored treatment approach.

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