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Can Cracking Knuckles Cause Arthritis?

Can Cracking Knuckles Cause Arthritis?

Does cracking knuckles increase your risk to arthritis? No. That’s the conclusion of many studies that compared the rates of hand arthritis among habitual knuckle-crackers and people who did not crack their knuckles.

The “Pop” sound of a cracked knuckle you hear is actually caused by the bursting of bubbles in the synovial fluid, which helps to keep the joints lubricated. The bubbles burst and make a sound when you pull the bones apart, either by pulling the fingers or bending them back, creating a negative force. A study done in the past compared the sudden vibratory energy created during cracking to “the energy responsible for the destruction of hydraulic blades and ship propellers”.

Even if the knuckle cracking habit doesn’t cause arthritis, there is still a good reason why one should stop doing it. Chronic knuckle cracking can cause swelling in the hands and reduce grip strength. And there are two published articles detailing the injuries suffered while people were attempting to crack their knuckles.

All the more, while this may seem like an innocent, mindless habit to you, someone next to you may just be getting as irritated as you might when you hear the sound of fingernails scratching a chalkboard.