An obvious danger to professional and amateur gardeners and arborealists alike is that posed to the hands by thorn from rose, yucca cactus and most seriously in the UK by blackthorn. If you are working in this field you need to understand the risks and how to stop thorn and blackthorn injury.
Thorn strikes and scratches can and often do become swollen and of course painful very quickly after an injury. If you are unlucky plant thorn arthritis or synovitis can be developed.
Fragments of plant matter left in the skin can can cause swelling in the affected joint with pain, stiffness and associated movement restriction. The onset of such symptoms can be delayed for days or even weeks after the injury, often hindering diagnosis.
In extreme cases scans are used to locate the offending matter and then surgery is carried out to remove the thorn fragment. Usually however a course of anti inflammatory drugs can be prescribed and a full recovery ensues.
HOW TO STOP THORN AND BLACKTHORN INJURY
As ever, prevention is better than cure. Traditionally thick leather gloves have been used by people to protect their hands when gardening. Whilst these are cheap and adequate for gross motor tasks such as clearing hedges they are not dexterous and can cause hand fatigue after prolonged use. Also they do not offer much protection against sharp thorns, particularly the long, thin blackthorn threat.
Professionals are increasingly choosing gloves specifically designed to resist puncture threats posed by needles and fine sharps. The best of these gloves allow enough dexterity to handle tools and perform the fine motor skills required.
TurtleSkin gloves and sleeves made with single layers of ballistic fabrics, can help stop thorn and blackthorn injury whilst allowing enough dexterity to easily handle tools and carry out the finest tasks.