A broken nose is a crack or break in the two nasal bones that form the bridge of your nose. When you break your nose there may also be damage to the cartilage that supports it, and the thin wall that separates your nostrils may have been bent out of place (deviated septum).
A broken nose often heals itself but may need surgery to reshape it or repair any serious damage.
The most common symptoms of a broken nose are pain and swelling in your nose. You might also notice bruising around your eyes or a cut on the bridge of your nose.
Other symptoms can include:
Seek medical help straightaway if you also have symptoms that might suggest a severe head injury, such as:
See your GP if your symptoms don't improve, or if your nose is bent out of shape once the swelling goes down.
Your GP can tell if your nose is broken by assessing your symptoms and gently examining your nose. They'll usually only arrange for an X-ray if they suspect you’ve injured other parts of your face.
If your GP thinks you may need treatment to straighten your nose, they may refer you to a specialist in ear, nose and throat surgery.
A broken nose should feel a bit better in about three days. Things you can do to help include:
Many people find their nose heals in about three weeks without medical treatment.
If your nose is bent out of shape, you may have a procedure called manipulation - usually no later than two weeks after your injury. It's mostly a quick procedure done under local anaesthetic, so you don't feel any pain.
If you have damaged cartilage or a deviated septum that affect your breathing, you may need another operation at a later date.