ZocdocAnswersHow do I know if I broke my nose or not?

Question

How do I know if I broke my nose or not?

I fell on my face on a carpeted floor and now the bridge of my nose is sore and it is a little swollen too. Can you just bruise your nose though? Or is it probably broken? How do you tell the difference?

Answer

Nasal fractures are common due to the prominence of the nose on the front of your face. The key thing, even more important than whether or not you broke your nose, is what you would do about it if it was broken. As surgeons looking at a patient with a broken nose, the first question that we have is about function: can you breathe through your nose appropriately? If your nose is not working right, you are congested, etc, then that is one reason to see a surgeon so that the trauma can be addressed appropriately and timely so that you may avoid a surgery. The second question that a surgeon would ask about your nose is whether or not you feel it looks normal. While this is difficult to know for sure due to the swelling that can come in the immediate post traumatic period, it is important to know if your nose is still straight, if the profile is appropriate, etc. If it is nose, or if it looks different to you, then it will need to be repaired surgically. Sometimes an x-ray is helpful in the process and diagnosis, but not always. Please speak to your Ear Nose and Throat surgeon about your concerns.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.