What Are the Symptoms of a Broken Cheekbone?

A broken cheekbone may affect the position of a person’s eye.
Bruising of the face is common with a broken cheekbone.
Pain is a common symptom of a broken cheekbone.
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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Some symptoms of a broken cheekbone are a visible bone, flat cheek, and pain. In cases of severe facial injury, the bone is sometimes visibly broken and seen through the skin. Even if the broken bone is not visible, some people experience a flat or lopsided cheek. Most people with broken cheekbones also experience pain, swelling, and bruising of the face. In addition, sometimes the injury is not limited to the cheekbone, but affects facial features around the cheekbone, like the eyes.

All broken bones fall into two categories: open fractures and closed fractures. The vast majority of broken bones are closed fractures, because the bone is broken but does not poke through the skin. Some fractures are open fractures, in which the bone lacerates the skin or the skin was damaged by the cause of the broken cheekbone. In many cases of open fractures, it is obvious at a glance that the cheekbone is broken. Although all broken bones should be brought to the attention of a doctor, open fractures have a greater chance of becoming infected and are generally considered emergencies.

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Another tell-tale sign of a broken cheekbone is a flat cheek, because the bone has moved out of position. When the bone is broken, the cheek is no longer held up properly. Sometimes the cheek appears lopsided or droopy instead of simply flat. A flat cheek is usually not permanent and can be fixed by having a medical professional reposition the broken bone. This involves surgery wherein the surgeon places a plate and screws in the patient’s cheek to secure it.

Not all fractured cheekbones are obvious, however; if the bone is still in place, the broken cheekbone might look perfectly normal. Pain, swelling, and bruising of the cheekbone may be symptoms of a broken bone. These symptoms are mostly universal, unless a person cannot feel his or her face due to shock or other medical reasons, like damaged nerves. The pain, swelling, and bruising should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.

In some cases, a broken cheekbone affects the position of a person’s eye. If the floor of the eye is damaged, the eye might no longer be held up properly and therefore sinks into the person’s face. This is usually accompanied by blood from the damaged socket. The person’s vision might also be affected by the wound; for example, double vision or blurry vision have been reported.

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anon950155
Post 10

I was punched in a fight and my cheek bone is now broken. It's stopping me from eating as the bottom of the jaw hinge is now hitting the broken bone when I open my mouth and will not go any further. I have now got to go into hospital to have facial reconstruction, just like it says above with a plate and screws which, once the bone has fused in the correct place, will be removed.

anon339410
Post 9

I fell down into my rockery, hitting the stones with my arms, the sides of my body and my legs, but the main impact was when I connected my cheek bone with the sharp edge of one of the rockery stones. It feels swollen, bruised and is sore to touch. Do you think it may be broken?

anon330560
Post 8

I got kicked in my cheek. It throbbed at first and it also knocks me sick when I talk or smile. And it hurts like hell when I touch it.

I did this about a week ago and no sign of bruising has shown, although it is starting to swell. Should I seek further medical advice or would you think it could be badly bruised inside?

anon285159
Post 7

I actually fell up my stairs and hit my face, especially my left cheek on the corner of the door. I immediately saw stars and about five minutes later had a severe headache. It lasted for about a half an hour. I'm swollen and starting to bruise. Guess I should go to the doctor?

anon262973
Post 6

I have a fractured cheekbone now. Guess you could say I ran into my angry boyfriend's fist. Hurts like hell. I didn't go to the hospital, but the medic said it was for sure fractured. I'm wondering how long it will hurt. It's been like this since end of January. Anyone know how long it will take to heal?

anon257180
Post 5

I have broken my cheek/orbital bone. I caught a nasty elbow in basketball practice. I heard ringing, and saw stars, then I finished practice and went home.

I saw a doctor about three days later and he said it was broken and required surgery. Three titanium plates later, I'm good as new.

Emilski
Post 4

What exactly is the treatment for a broken cheekbone? It is in a really poor spot to be able to do a lot with it. It isn't like you could put some type of cast on the surface of someone's face.

You would have to have some way to keep the bones from moving. I know that for broken jaws, they wire your mouth shut so that you can't move it. Do they do the same thing for a cheek bone fracture? I'm sure it could depend on the severity of the break, too. I bet in some cases, they would have to do surgery to repair the bone if it was out of place.

Once they do the final treatment, how long does it take for the bone to heal? How does it compare to something like a broken arm or leg? Can you usually tell later that the bone had been broken at some point?

matthewc23
Post 3

I'm sure punching could cause a broken cheekbone, but I know that a cow can. I had a friend that whose family lived on a farm. One day he was working with the cows, and one of them kicked while he was standing behind it. The kick ended up breaking his cheekbone and doing some damage to the eye socket.

He was knocked unconscious, but luckily someone else was around to help him. The break was closed, so he was lucky for that. I never got to see what he looked like at the time it happened, but afterwards, the swelling was very severe. His face was bruised for several weeks, and he had a lot of pain. The broken eye socket also caused a lot of the blood vessels in his eye to burst, so it was dark red for a couple of weeks, as well.

Like anyone who works on a farm can tell you, standing directly behind a cow is usually a bad idea just in case something like this happens. If he would have been paying more attention, he could have avoided the whole accident.

stl156
Post 2

@JimmyT - I don't watch a ton of boxing, but I have seen quite a few matches. As far I know, there aren't that many cheekbone fractures. The most common bones that get broken are the jaw bones and the nose.

To be honest, I'm not sure what constitutes the cheekbone. I assume there is a difference between the cheek and the jaw bones. I would consider the cheekbones to be the ones around the eyes and in front of the ears. I don't have any idea what the real names would be.

Almost every boxer ends a match with swelling around the eyes, but I think the gloves and strength of the bone help prevent breaks. Most times when a boxer is hit, he will turn away from the punch which can lessen the blow, too.

JimmyT
Post 1

Having a broken cheek bone sounds horrible. Fortunately, I doubt it is a very common injury unless you are punched in some sort of fight.

When I was reading this, I was wondering about boxers and whether they commonly have broken cheekbones. I don't watch a lot of boxing, so I'm not very familiar with the injuries that people sustain.

I'm wondering how padded the gloves are and if that might be able to take away enough of the blow to stop someone from getting a fractured cheek bone. Is there anything boxers do when they are training or during a match that helps prevent them from having their jaws or cheeks broken?

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