Rose thorn injury to right knee

PixieannieApril 19, 2014

Yesterday, whilst digging up a large rose (approx 2.3m), I fell forward and landed on the rose bush. Although a thorn became embedded just below my left eye (part of that has been removed), I didn't think much else of the incident and so washed and cleaned the wound and continued with tending to the garden. 2 hours later and I had severe pain in my right knee. Upon examination, there were 3 small puncture wounds and some redness. By the middle of the night I was in agony, the wound directly over the knee cap had become more red, swollen and incredibly painful; bending the knee was out of the question.

I am aware of the risk of fungal/bacterial infections and would not knowingly put myself in danger but have decided to wait to see if things subside. The redness continues to increase and the pain and loss of mobility are about the same as earlier today.

The pain is in the knee joint, the skin isn't painful to touch.

Does anyone else have any similar experiences?

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mzstitch(Zone 7b South Carolina)

Are you sure you were not bit by something, perhaps a spider to get that kind of reaction?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Pixieannie

No. I fell on top of the rose bush as I was digging it out. There are three entry points and no visible thorns. Only one of them is causing me such distress. Range of motion has decreased.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:38PM
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jacqueline9CA

This is not the correct place to get medical advice - I would go to a doctor.

Jackie

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:04PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

This is not the correct place to get medical advice - I would go to a doctor.

Amen!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:11PM
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lkplatow

If you are anything like me, you are thinking that this is a holiday weekend and there are no doctors open and the ER would be a pain in the butt and you'll just wait it out and see if it gets better by Monday.

But I would advise you not to do that. Any time you have that much redness and inflammation and it is spreading, not staying the same or getting smaller, you are likely to be dealing with infection. Puncture wounds have great potential for infection with all kinds of nastiness - especially if you didn't realize you had it and continued working in the garden without cleaning/covering it. At the rate you say the redness and pain and loss of motion came on and is increasing, you should see someone asap. Do you have an urgent care place in your area -- they should be able to see you without all the hassle of the ER. I would NOT delay til Monday -- if you do have an infection, it will be much worse by then. This is not something to mess around with.

(I will say that I had a rose thorn puncture wound of my own last week -- like yours, it swelled up and hurt like heck. But it never got red and after a day, the swelling started going down. I think at this point, if things are unchanged or getting worse, you need medical attention asap.)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:17PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Go to the doctor or ER and get it looked at. And have you had a tetanus shot?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:47PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Or an Urgent Care facility.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:34PM
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Pixieannie

Thank you for all the advice. @Hoovb, I was not seeking medical advice but simply asking if anyone else had experienced such an injury.

I spoke to a Doctor yesterday and she gave me superb medical advice, of which I shall follow up. Here in the UK, the local surgeries are closed until Tuesday.

On a more positive note, the rose survived and shall hopefully continue to provide me with months of beautiful blooms.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 2:02AM
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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

Yep. While walking in Connecticut seashore woods I was stabbed in the knee by an insignificant little thorn on some plant I don't have an ID on. We figured, eventually, that there was no thorn still in me. The knee swelled up like a very tight balloon and the doc fixed it with Kenalog, an injectable steroid. Cured my hay fever for a month too.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 2:16AM
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Pixieannie

I visited the Emergency Room yesterday and was seen by 3 Nurse Practitioners, 1 Registrar and a Consultant. They were surprised by the amount of pain associated with the thorn prick injuries and concerned by the redness, swelling and heat. They wanted to give me antibiotics for suspected cellulitis. I am holding off on them unless I know for definite that I need them as I am wary of unnecessary use of antibiotics. They have taken bloods and will call me if they show anything untoward and I will have to be admitted for IV antibiotics.

Today I am more mobile although the knee remains very hot and painful. The rose meanwhile is looking a little guilty.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Linda

As it should.

Linda

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:31PM
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raee_gw

I got a rather severe infection from a rose thorn. It is not all that unusual, I am told.

The problem with waiting, as it is likely from your symptoms that you do have a bacterial infection (and how do you expect to "know for certain"? unless they took an aspirate of the site for culture), is that an infected joint can become a serious and difficult to treat problem. If you wait until you have systemic symptoms (ie fever) you haven't done yourself any favors.

YES, antibiotics are overused, but not when there really is an infection.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Pixieannie

I agree to a point but they didn't seem very knowledgable on the types of bacteria that pose a risk, such as Pantoea Agglomerans. I'm allergic to penicillin and so they were going to give Erythromycin. They also said that thorns that remain in a joint will not cause any long term problems, yet research states otherwise.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:02PM
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trospero(8)

" They also said that thorns that remain in a joint will not cause any long term problems"

I can personally tell you that this is not true. On my right hand, 8 or 9 years ago I got a thorn into the first joint (where finger meets hand) of my middle finger, and it was sore for most of that summer, flaring up painfully whenever I put a lot of stress on that joint. I expected my body would eventually push the broken thorn out of the knuckle -- it never did. To this day, that joint remains compromised and can become quite painful for many days if I overuse it. So, beware.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:33PM
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Pixieannie

All the research I have done says that thorns should be removed from joints as they have the potential to trigger arthritis (related to the initial injury).

In my case, I think the Doc just didn't want to remove it. I disagreed with him and the General Practitioner I spoke to said that it should be removed (if in fact it is in the joint). I realise that it may be different if the thorn is just below the skin. The only reliable method to see if the thorn is in the joint, is ultrasound or a surgical procedure. Given that I am a runner, cyclist and climber and suffer with Osteoarthritis, I have no wish to exacerbate this condition.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:18PM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

Sounds like it may be rose prick/rose grower's disease - sporotrichosis - commonly from a puncture wound by a rose thorn. It's caused by a fungus on the thorn. Neither common nor rare, requires specific treatment with antifungals. Rose thorns can also carry bacteria & tetanus. Nothing to mess with. I'm allergic to penicillin & intolerant of most antibacterials, so I hear you on that score. Perhaps a synovial fluid test would pinpoint infection allowing specific treatment? Thinking a crew more on the ball than those who treated you are needed, or at the least they need to be alerted to the possibilities from thorn prick. Might submitting samples of the thorns help in identifying a contaminant? You might get a referral to knee specialist who may be more helpful. Best of luck in getting this cared for properly, and keep on it till it's resolved.

Linked is a previous discussion.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thorn complications

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 5:25PM
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Malcolm1

Can anyone recommend a type of glove for working roses

?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 2:40PM
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flowergirl70ks

Gloves for working with roses, yes. Goatskin.
Now for the woman who got stuck.Do you spray your roses? If so, I think you should see a Dr right away and take the spray bottle with you. I feel Dr's and antibiotics were put here for our use when we need them.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 3:46PM
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