How to Set a Broken Nose

Updated November 21, 2016

Broken noses are a common result of injuries to the face due to sports, accidents and fights. The best choice is to set a broken nose quickly to prevent it from healing out of shape. Most doctors wish to wait until the swelling goes down, so the scope of the injury can be identified. Remember that only a doctor or X-ray can identify if a nose is broken, and it is recommended to have a doctor set a broken nose.

Remember that a doctor is the best person to set a broken nose. A doctor will set it using a procedure called a closed reduction, which uses a nasal speculum to open the nose and then special medical instruments to move the bones back into place. A severe fracture or multiple fractures may require surgery.

Move quickly if you choose to attempt to set a broken nose yourself. If a nose is set more than half an hour after the injury, the swelling will make it impossible to identify the true shape of the nose. Do not attempt to set the nose at any point past a half hour after the injury.

Sit down, and have a friend nearby to help. Be prepared for a painful procedure, and dizziness or fainting may occur as a result.

Remove as much blood from the nose as possible by blowing gently into a towel.

Place hands facing each other and with your fingertips touching. Put the fingertips at the top of the nose, and press firmly.

Exhale and press palms against the nose firmly. Bring the bottom of hands together underneath the nose.

Pull palms down the side of the nose, adding firm pressure and moving in a straight line.

Repeat as necessary until nose appears straight.

Place a finger up each nostril as far as possible, and align the nose from the inside. Do this in front of a mirror to make sure the nose is straight.

Blow the nose, and withdraw the fingers at the same time. This will help drain blood and pus from the nose. Repeat until you feel that the nose is clear of blood.

Pack the nose with clean cotton or facial tissues to help set the nose and absorb the bleeding.

Apply ice to the nose for at least 20 minutes. Take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for the pain and swelling.

If the bleeding or dizziness does not stop in 20 minutes, contact a doctor immediately.


Be aware that setting a nose incorrectly can cause further damage or result in a permanently crooked nose. It is always best to let a medical professional perform the procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel(s)
  • Ice
  • Pain reliever
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About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.