Plant Thorn Arthritis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Plant thorn arthritis is the inflammation of a joint caused by a thorn puncturing the joint and leaving residual plant matter lodged within the joint. Plant thorn arthritis typically affects only a single joint. Plant thorn arthritis has also been referred to as plant thorn synovitis. Synovitis refers to inflammation of the synovium, the lining tissues of the joints.

Symptoms may occur long after the thorn has been removed from the affected joint. Symptoms and signs are related to the localized inflammation in the joint lining tissue and can include

Causes of plant thorn arthritis

Plants that produce thorns, such as palm trees, roses, cacti, bougainvillea, yucca, plum trees, and mesquite trees, are typically the source of the thorn that causes plant thorn arthritis.

Other plant thorn arthritis symptoms and signs

  • Joint Swelling
  • Loss of Range of Motion of the Joint
  • Pain
  • Reddish Discoloration of the Skin
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.