A broken nose is a common injury, usually caused by a blow to the face. Most broken noses heal naturally and can be managed at home.
The swelling should go down within a week, and the bruising should disappear after two weeks.
This page describes the signs of a broken nose and gives advice on what to do.
A broken nose will be painful, swollen and red. Other typical symptoms are:
Most broken noses can be cared for at home, and medical treatment isn't necessary, especially if the skin and septum (wall between the nostrils) are still intact.
You can usually manage your broken nose at home, following the below advice:
Don't wear glasses until the swelling has gone down, and don't attempt to straighten the nose yourself.
Call your doctor if:
Go to your nearest accident and emergency department if:
If the bone is badly broken or the skin has broken, the nose will probably need medical treatment in hospital. An X-ray may be necessary, although in many cases it isn't.
The doctor may be able to realign your nasal bones in their office, using special nasal instruments. However, this should be done within 14 days of the injury, otherwise treatment may not be possible. A local anaesthetic will be injected into your nose to numb it. Any broken skin will need stitches.
If your nose is bleeding continuously, a doctor will pack your nose with a soft gauze pad to stop the nosebleed. This will be removed by your doctor in two to three days. You musn’t try to remove it yourself.
If your nose has broken in a few places or become deformed, or if the inside structure of your nose has become damaged, you may need to have the bones surgically realigned. This will be done in hosppital using a general anaesthetic (you are put to sleep).
However, if you’re a boxer, footballer or other sportsman who is likely to break their nose again, it may not be worth having your deformed nose corrected. Speak to your doctor about this.
If you’ve severely broken your nose and received medical treatment for this, you’ll need to see a specialist for follow-up, to check the bones are healing in the correct position. You may see an ear, nose and throat doctor, and oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or a plastic surgeon.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.