When the bones or cartilage in the nose crack or split, it results in a broken or fractured nose. This can lead to breathing difficulties, nosebleeds, and pain. The term nasal fracture is often used interchangeably with a broken nose.
With a broken nose, inflammation and bruising around the nose and under eye area may develop. It can also lead to breathing difficulties particularly when it is crooked or misshapen. In severe cases, it can lead to nasal hematoma.
Contact sports, physical fights, falls, and car accidents that result in facial injuries are all common causes of a broken nose. A minor nasal fracture may heal on its own. However, in severe or multiple fractures, treatment or surgery may be necessary to realign the broken nose.
People with fractured nose may experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Tenderness and pain
- Swelling in and around the nose
- Bruising around the nose or eyes
- Nasal obstruction
- Nasal septal hematoma
- Deformed or misshapen nose
- Trouble breathing through the nose
- Mucus discharge from the nose
While a broken nose may not always require emergency care, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. Seeking early treatment can decrease the risk of long-term complications, such as breathing difficulties or deformities.
If a nosebleed continues despite initial attempts to stop it, if breathing becomes compromised, if there is a head or neck injury present, if the nose looks misshapen, or if there is clear fluid leaking from the nose, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
A fractured nose can arise from blunt force trauma. It commonly happens during physical fights, falls, motor vehicle collisions, and sports-related injuries. Walking into a stationary object, such as a door or wall, or aggressive, wrestling-style play, can also result in a fractured nose.
Nasal fractures are quite prevalent, accounting for between 40% to 50% of all facial injuries. Statistically, it is likely to happen in men than women.
Certain activities also increase one’s risk of a broken nose, such as bicycle riding, getting into a physical fight, weightlifting, playing contact sports without protection, and driving without a seatbelt.