The fact is that if you have played a collision sport such as Rugby, Basketball, Boxing or American Football you would have broken your nose at least once. But you can break your nose while doing some activity around the house and there are many recreational activities where you have a good chance of gaining such an injury!
There are two types of this injury: one where there is some displacement of the structure of the nose and one where there is no apparent injury – but a good sign as to whether you have a broken nose is if you have trouble breathing through your nostrils. There will be injury to the internal soft tissue of the nose with the second type of injury, but you don’t really need to do anything other than let time heal it.
But with the first type of injury, you need some medical intervention and you have two choices of action. Either you seek medical treatment straight away or wait five days until the swelling has gone down. The second choice means that it is easier to check the severity of the breakage if it is not apparent as it may not show up in an X-ray. But it is important that you seek treatment within the first ten days after the injury if you don’t want permanent damage that may affect your ability to breathe through your nose as this could lead to more serious problems, particularly if it affects your breathing in sleep?
Something can be done through cosmetic surgery after the ten day time line but it is much easier to move the nasal structures within this time to bring them back into alignment as they are not set into place before this time. Sometimes the septum, high up in the bridge of the nose is injured, but this can only be repaired four to five months after the injury. This type of repair requires a person to have an anesthetic, but the surgery only takes approximately six – seven minutes to complete.
Also understand that there may be other injuries to the skull if you have a broken nose and therefore the chance of concussion is high and this needs to be checked by a neurologist. If the person is diagnosed with concussion then the nose can only be fixed after the required time of recovery. The trigeminal nerve can be damaged if the injury is at the top of the nose, close to the skull and this can cause permanent damage to the sinuses which can cause ongoing headaches and other issues, so best to have it checked by a medical specialist.
The best immediate treatment is to use an ice pack over the injured area to keep down the swelling. Don’t lean the head back, but forward as this will allow the bleeding to subside naturally if there is any bleeding (as this is not always the case). Do not use nose drops if there is bleeding but better to use hydrogen peroxide if it is at hand by soaking it on cotton buds and leave it in for 20 minutes – if possible. Use iodine if there are scratches to the outside of the nose. If there are scratches that are obvious in this external trauma, check to see when you have had your last tetanus shot, and if over ten years beforehand, get a booster.
This is a common injury that is often not followed up that can cause more serious health problems in the long run if not treated at the right time…