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Old 10-03-2002, 05:18 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 57,339
Part of thorn deep in my skin, what happens if I don't remove it

This year I grew Solanum Sisymbrifolium in my garden (for the edible fruits); the entire plant is armed with impressive needle-sharp spines, even on the leaf ribs and the calyces.

So I was separating one of the ripe fruits from it's calyx and one of the thorns got me; it broke off in there and I can just faintly see a little sliver of thorn deep within (or possibly under) the skin.

last time this sort of thing happened I dug it out with a needle which was really nasty and painful; the thorn isn't particularly bothering me (although if I happen to press on the skin in a particular way it hurts a lot); what will happen if I don't dig it out? - will it make it's way to the surface naturally? will it get absorbed or encysted?
Old 10-03-2002, 05:42 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
I got a solution for you, and I couldn't believe how well it worked for me, because it just seemed like an old wives' tale.

This is in your finger or hand? This evening, just sit around and soak your hand in a bowl of water for a few hours, as long as you have the patience to do it. Tomorrow morning, the thorn will be right at the surface, maybe even sticking out a bit. You can pluck it right out withou any problem or pain.

Sorry, I suppose this doesn't specifically answer your OP. But I figure it's a good alternative to possible sepsis. A nurse told me to do this for a deep wood sliver, and I just didn't believe it would work. But it did.
Old 10-03-2002, 06:14 AM
Liberal Liberal is offline
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Gone
Posts: 39,401
My biggest concern, Mange, is infection. Get it out and clean it well.
Old 10-03-2002, 06:54 AM
chique chique is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: East of Lake Wobegone
Posts: 4,514
Living on a farm as a kid I got lots of stuff stuck deep in my skin. Sometimes I could get it out, sometimes I couldn't. If I couldn't, usually it would soon be surrounded by a small, pus-filled sac. When it got annoying enough I'd stick the sac with a sterilized needle and the (now very soft) splinter would pop right out. Then I'd douse it with hyrdrogen peroxide and band-aid it.

Not particularly sanitary, no, but I never had any little red lines running up my arm trying to kill me.
Old 10-03-2002, 07:16 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 41,097
Assuming it doesn't get infected, it can either become encysted (the body forming tissue around it) or it will eventually work its way back up to the surface. I've had splinters that stayed for months, but eventually came out.

Soaking in warm water does help get it back to the surface.
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Old 10-03-2002, 07:20 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
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It's been in there a day and a half now and the area around it is not at all inflamed or irritated; I reckon the risk of infection is pretty low.
Old 10-03-2002, 07:41 AM
Sivalensis Sivalensis is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 346
One of my friends once stepped on a nail the beginning of the summer (I assume it was a small nail). It hurt for a little while, but then she forgot about it, and it came out one day at the end of the summer. She had forgotten it was there and was surprised it came out all of a sudden. A nail is different than a thorn, but the principle is the same. But probably depends how it goes it and where it is and whether it gets infected and all that


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