The elbow to the nose came early in the program and by the time the music stopped, the front of Eric Radford's shirt was drenched in blood.

Canada's Radford suffered a broken nose in the pairs short program at the world figure skating championships Wednesday, when he was slammed in the face by a hard elbow from pairs partner Meagan Duhamel.

Duhamel and a bleary-eyed and bloody Radford managed to finish the program in seventh place, but it's unclear whether they'll be able to compete in Thursday's free program in Moscow.

"I've got to just wait and see how tonight goes," Radford said. "I'll do the practice [Thursday] and hopefully it's not hurting too bad and hopefully I can do another twist with Meagan without closing my eyes."

Radford and Duhamel were executing a triple Lutz-twist lift — an acrobatic throw-and-catch manoeuvre where she spins three times in the air while holding her body parallel to the ice.

Duhamel, a native of Lively, Ont., hit Toronto's Radford on the descent with her elbow.

"If you could see a picture of my face right when it happened, I was very shocked and my nose hurt a lot," Radford said. "I had tears in my eyes from the pain … I was thinking 'should I stop or should I go' and I just kind of magically did it. And what an adventure."

Duhamel and Radford, a new team this season, scored 58.83 points, finishing three spots ahead of Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Waterloo, Ont., who scored 56.86.

China's defending world champions Pang Qing and Tong Jian have the lead with 72.98 points, while Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy are second with 72.98, followed by Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov with 70.35.

Radford, who had his nose reset by Canadian team doctor Marni Wesner afterward, said he never considered stopping.

"No, Meagan mentioned it after the lift," Radford said. "She said 'You're going to have to stop,' but I just kept on going. I could see, I could breathe, I'm not dying, I'll finish the program and deal with it after."

Duhamel said she felt herself whack Radford, then only had to look at him to realize he was in rough shape.

"Every time I looked at him the blood got worse and worse and worse, all over his face," Duhamel said. "But I'm really proud of him that he was able to continue and finish the program. I think that's a good testament to his character."

"It's a nose. Thank God it's not our feet or our hands," she added. "You can still skate with a sore nose."