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A broken nose is painful and can result from hitting your face in an accident, a fight or a fall.

What is a broken nose?

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.

How to tell if you have a broken nose

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:

  • Blocked nose
  • Crunching or cracking when you touch your nose
  • Nosebleed
  • Visible change in the shape of your nose

Seek medical help straightaway if you also have symptoms that might suggest a severe head injury, such as:

  • Double vision or pain in your eyes
  • Pain in your head or neck
  • Watery liquid trickling from your nostril

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about symptoms

You can book an appointment with a Spire private GP today.

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Diagnosis and tests for a broken nose

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.


See your GP or use the consultant finder below to book an appointment with a specialist at your nearest Spire hospital.

Common treatments for a broken nose

A broken nose should feel a bit better in about three days. Things you can do to help include:

  • Holding an ice pack to your nose for 15 minutes, several times a day
  • Sleeping as upright as possible by propping up pillows
  • Taking over-the-counter painkillers (paracetamol or ibuprofen)

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.