Clint Dempsey recently broke his nose while playing soccer in the World Cup game against Ghana. During the soccer match, John Boyeaccidently smashed his shin against his nose. The nose was confirmed to be broken by the United States training facility. Soccer, a sport where the foot and legs takes precedence of the hands, often leaves the face unprotected from injuries.
Nasal fractures can occur readily in contact sports and is one of the most common injuries. Nasal fractures can be detected by several methods. First of all, one of the best ways of detecting a nasal fracture is be being seen by a qualified physician. Mobility of the nasal bones is the sign that the nasal bones are fractured. Although plain x-rays are often ordered in the acute care setting, they are suprisingly inaccurate at detecting nasal fractures. The reason for this is that normal lines seen on the face (called sutures) often overlap the nose making interpretation of the xray difficult. CT scans of the face can isolate the nasal bones from the bones in the background and help in diagnosing nasal bone fractures.
The septum of the nose is cartilage and is often displaced or misaligned after nasal injury. A deviated septum is again detected by a qualified physician with a nasal speculum and headlight. An xray is not helpful in detecting a deviated septum. CT scans are very accurate in detecting deviated boney portions of the septum, but do not detect cartilaginous deviations flawlessly. Often times cartilaginous deviations seen in the nose readily, are not as easily seen on CT scan.
So, while contact sports are fun to watch… when playing them, protect your face as injury is quite common.