A broken nose usually heals on its own within 3 weeks. Get medical help if it’s not getting better or your nose has changed shape.
Check if it’s a broken nose
Symptoms of a broken nose may include:
- pain, swelling and redness
- a crunching or crackling sound when you touch your nose
- difficulty breathing out of your nose – it might feel blocked
- your nose changing shape – for example, it’s not as straight as before
You may also have:
How to treat a broken nose yourself
You can usually treat a broken nose yourself. It should start getting better within 3 days and be fully healed within 3 weeks.
Go to a minor injuries unit or see a GP if:
- your nose is crooked (not straight) after the injury
- the swelling hasn’t started to go down after 3 days
- painkillers aren’t helping
- you’re still finding it difficult to breathe through your nose after the swelling has gone
- you’re having regular nosebleeds
- you have a very high temperature (or you feel hot and shivery)
- you have a large cut on your face
Treatment from a GP
Your GP might prescribe stronger painkillers if paracetamol or ibuprofen aren’t helping.
If you have a large cut, a nurse or GP may clean the wound and recommend something to seal or protect it – for example, stitches or strips of surgical tape.
If you have a severe broken nose or it’s changed shape, you may be referred to a specialist in hospital for assessment and treatment.
Treating a severe broken nose in hospital
If your nose has changed shape
A doctor in hospital may be able to make your nose straighter using a procedure called manipulation.
You might have to go home and wait a few days for the swelling to go down, but the procedure should be done within 14 days.
Manipulation is done using anaesthetic so that you’re asleep or your nose is numbed. It doesn’t always make your nose look exactly the same as it was before, but it often helps.
If you have a large wound
The wound will usually be cleaned and sealed with stitches or strips in hospital.
If your nose won’t stop bleeding
A doctor may place a soft gauze pad in your nose. The pad will be removed by the doctor a few days later.