Plant Thorn Arthritis – A Form of Monoarthritis


Plant thorn arthritis


is a type of


, meaning, a type of arthritis that affects only a single joint. Also referred to as

plant thorn synovitis


, this problem arises when a person’s synovium (or the joint lining tissue) gets inflamed. The inflammation of the synovium is a possible inflammatory reaction caused by the plant matter that remains in the joint after being punctured by the thorn eventually leading to the



Why is this a Monoarthritis Form?:

Firstly, plant thorn arthritis is a non-infectious inflammatory condition. So, an inflamed joint would not affect the other. Thus, this condition is deemed as single joint arthritis.

  • The joints of our elbows, feet, fingers, hands, ankles and knees are the ones that are most vulnerable to developing this single joint arthritis condition. Accidentally, these joints can get punctured or pierced by thorns which could leave the plant matter inside the joint thus, allowing a localized inflammation.
  • Activities like gardening, walking in a garden or falling into a thorny bush can result in this condition. Rose plants, palm and the plum trees, cacti, mesquite trees et. have thorns that can lead to plant thorn arthritis.

Signs and Symptoms:

The local inflammation of the joint is usually not immediate. It develops over a period of time after the thorn has been removed. Most people who are diagnosed of this monoarthritic condition may not even remember being punctured by a thorn.

  • The signs and symptoms usually include localized swelling and severe pain along with redness and stiffness.
  • The joint that is affected loses its motion range and becomes tender to touch.
  • If not treated in time, the arthritis may develop into a chronic form.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Radiology is one technique to detect a lodged thorn into the joint. Other imaging techniques like MRI, ultrasound and CT scan can also help in identifying thorn pieces in the joint. Joint aspiration is also required to rule out any possibilities of a fungal or viral infection.

When this


condition is in its acute form, NSAIDs are usually used to alleviate the inflammation, else a surgery (synovectomy) would be required to eliminate the affected tissue lining.

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