The myth of Knuckle Cracking

Am I the only one that gets agitated when I’m exercising, and start to crack my knuckles, and someone comes up to me with a concerned look and says, ”You should stop, you’re going to develop arthritis?” Many people believe that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis, yet this is not true. Studies show that the habit of cracking your knuckles is not harmful at all. This leads to the question that lots of people have: If it’s not true, why do people believe it?

In recent years, the act of cracking your knuckles has caused many heads to turn and different concerns. People say that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis, but first, let me tell you where the popping sound comes from. The popping sound created by cracking your knuckles is caused by the air bubble formation that forms in synovial fluid – the fluid that surrounds our joints. Over the years, there have been lots of theories about what happens in the joint when the knuckle cracks. Researchers believe that the cracking sounds are related to the dynamic changes in pressure, which are associated with gas bubbles in the joint. In 1947, a published paper revealed that the popping sound happens when a bubble first forms in the synovial fluid of the joint.

Research shows that those who had a habit of cracking knuckles had no detected pain, swelling, or damage to the joints as they were being cracked. Researchers found no noticeable difference between the joints of the habitual knuckle-crackers and those who never did it. A Californian medical doctor who spent 60 years cracking his knuckles on one hand and not the other, also found no difference between the two. Although there needs to be more research done to confirm that no long-term damage is being done, it could even reveal that joint-cracking may actually be good. 

J’Niyah Turner – DMSF

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Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash