Broken Nose

A broken nose is an actual break in the cartilage or bone of the nose caused by a direct blow. It is one of the most common fractures of the face, usually caused by the separation of the frontal portion of the facial bones or as the separation of the cartilage within the nose itself. Sometimes the injury can involve both.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Extreme pain
  • Deformity
  • Inability to breathe through nose

On-Site Management

ABC's. Make sure the blood is not impeding the athlete's airway, and that the athlete is breathing properly. Check for a pulse and monitor the heart rate for shock. Stop the bleeding!

Secondary Scan. Assess the athlete to rule out a head injury, as this is potentially more serious and must be managed first.

Position the Athlete. Have the athlete sit up to keep the airway clear of blood.

Ice. Gently apply crushed ice to the bridge of the nose while trying to have the athlete apply pressure to the nostrils. Treat a broken nose with care.

Medical Referral. The athlete should see a doctor as soon as possible after the injury. The bones of the nose will set in a displaced position if medical attention is delayed. It may be necessary to re-break the nose to achieve proper alignment.

Return to Activity

The athlete should not return to activity until he or she is released by the physician. Athletes involved in contact sports should wear a nose protector upon return.


  • Make sure athletes wear the appropriate protective face masks and shields for their sports.

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