How to tell if you broke your nose

Updated February 23, 2018

A broken nose is extremely painful. You may not even know that you have a broken nose at first, because some symptoms do not emerge until three days later. Often, though, the symptoms of a broken nose are obvious. Once a broken nose is confirmed, treatment can begin. Treatment can be as simple as packing the nose and waiting for it to heal, or as complicated as having a few surgeries.

Watch for swelling. If your nose is broken, it will swell up. The whole nose may be puffy, or it may just be puffy on one side. This depends on where the break is.

Keep an eye out for bruising. Broken noses often leave nasty-looking bruises around your nose and under your eye.

Look for blood. If you break your nose, it is highly likely you will bleed out of your nose.

Touch your nose and see if it produces pain. Is it tender in that area? If so, you may have broken it.

Examine the shape of your nose. Has it changed shape, or does it look crooked? This is an excellent indicator that your nose is broken.

Try to breath through your nose. If breathing is difficult, you most likely have broken your nose.

Get an X-ray if you have the above mentioned symptoms. This is the only way to confirm that your nose is broken. Your primary care doctor can order the X-ray, or you can visit an emergency room and have it done.


Place an ice pack or some frozen peas on your nose as soon as you think you might have broken it. This will help with the swelling until you can get help.


Get examined by a doctor. If you don't, and your nose is broken so badly that you need surgery, you may have breathing problems for the rest of your life.

Things You'll Need

  • List of symptoms
  • X-ray
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About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.