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A broken nose is common, especially after a fall, a sports injury or a fight. The bones in your nose are the ones in your face that are most often broken because they stick out and do not have a lot of support.
A broken nose usually heals on its own within three weeks. Get medical help if it’s not getting better or your nose has changed shape.
We do not usually do x-rays to check whether you have broken your nose as these bones do not show up well. If you do need any x-rays, these will be to check that you have not damaged other parts of your face, such as your eye sockets, cheek bones or jaw bone.
To guide the treatment you need, we will look for certain signs that show you have broken your nose, such as:
Should you have any of the below symptoms or signs please let your doctor or nurse know:
A member of staff will examine your nose to make sure there is no bleeding, no blood clots (haematoma) in your septum and that you can breathe through both nostrils.
If you have a simple break with no problems, we may:
If you need an operation, this will be arranged for you about one to two weeks after your injury by the ENT team.
A broken nose usually heals on its own within three weeks.
Take simple pain relief and use ice packs to reduce the swelling around your nose.
If your nose bleeds, pinch the fleshy part of the nose firmly for 20 minutes. Breathe through your mouth and lean forward in a sitting position. Apply cold compresses to your nose, forehead and nape of neck to reduce the swelling. Spit out any blood in the mouth. Seek medical help if the bleeding will not stop.
Seek medical help if you have persisting pain or nose bleeds, if you feel feverish or if your breathing doesn’t improve once the swelling is reducing.
For general medical advice please use the NHS website, the NHS 111 service, walk-in-centres, or your GP.
This leaflet is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information in this article is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.
Publication Date: February 2019
Review Date: January 2023