Arthritis and Cracking Knuckles
The reason people associate knuckle-cracking with arthritis because
it makes a cracking noise and, if something cracks, it must be
being damaged. However, the truth is that nothing is being cracked.
A joint is any place where the ends of two bones meet. Where the
bones come together they have a covering of "articular cartilage."
This is surrounded by the "joint capsule," inside of which there is
synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is the lubricant for the joint and
also serves as a source of nutrients for the cells that look after
Synovial fluid has dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon
dioxide within it. When the right pressure is applied to a joint,
the area inside the joint capsule expands. However, the expansion
is limited by how much synovial fluid is contained in the joint.
Synovial fluid cannot expand unless pressure inside the joint
capsule drops and the dissolved gases can escape out of the fluid.
The cracking sound comes from the gases rapidly being released from
There have been a few studies to see whether or not cracking
knuckles caused arthritis. None have found that there was an
increase of arthritis among knuckle-crackers; nevertheless, a
relationship was discovered between knuckle-cracking, hand swelling
and lower grip strength, damage to ligaments surrounding the joints
and dislocation of tendons.
The conclusion of the studies indicated that while
knuckle-cracking was not associated with arthritis, it was
associated with damage to ligaments that surround the joint and
dislocation of tendons. There may also be a connection with soft
For those that would like a more in depth view of tests done on
a sample of 300 knuckle-crackers, go to the Related Link below.
More input from Wiki s contributors:
Cracking your knuckles wears away the cartilage between the
joints over a long period of time. This is one of the causes of
arthritis. Other causes of arthritis are completely unrelated, like
for example, you can inherit it from your parents, or get it
because of a disease like Lupus. So, I guess if you might get it
anyway, and you might not know if it was your's or your parents
fault, go ahead and crack away.
Don't listen to those people that tell you cracking your
knuckles will cause you to have arthritis. At this point it's just
a speculation, not wild, but certainly not founded on anything but
misconceptions. All you're doing is playing with the physiology and
chemistry of your body a bit. There are good and bad sides to this.
Here's a rather complete site if you want to read more (which keeps
me from typing it all out): howstuffworks.
No, of course it doesn't. A study focused on 300 habitual
knuckle crackers found no evidence linking knuckle cracking and
arthritis. Chronic crackers did suffer other harm, including soft
tissue damage and loss of grip strength. This damage is usually
minor, however, and cracking your knuckles actually has some
benefits -- you'll feel looser and enjoy more mobility in your
joints immediately after popping.
No, it only elongates the joints over time and gives you the
appearance of longer fingers.
No. I'm 20 and I have been cracking my knuckles (toes, back,
neck...) since third grade. My knuckles, if I pull the skin tight
are a bit larger than normal, but it's not noticeable. My fingers
don't look long to me.
This is an old wife's tale that has been debunked many times.
The crackling sound when you 'crack' your knuckles is just the
release of gases (nitrogen if I recall) back into your bloodstream.
No one has ever shown that this is in any way harmful but it can be
annoying if done habitually. That's probably why the arthritis
story originated, an annoyed parent wanted to scare his kids into
stopping the practice.
I am a paramedic student and EMT, and have also posed this
question to my anatomy professor in the past and to nurse and
paramedic instructor back in paramedic school. All cracking your
knuckles does is release gas build up between the joints and has
nothing to do with arthritis. P.S.: The cracking of knuckles is
nothing compaired to the every day abuse the joints go through in
every day normal use.
It takes 20+ minutes for the gases and fluids to get back into
your knuckles to get poped again. and it has been proven that the
worst thing that can happen is a slightly stretched ligament which
is not harmful at all. it is perfectly fine. Don't do your neck
though: let the chiropractors do that.
Not everybody's joints crack. Some people have a larger
separation between the bones and some people can't relax enough to
allow the bones to separate. If you can crack and your mom tells
you, you're going to get arthritis, she's just yanking your chain.
There is no scientific evidence that cracking your knuckles leads
to arthritis. However, it can't be good to repeatedly push a joint
beyond its normal physical range. Besides that, it's annoying.
Cracking your knuckles can cause a decrease in your grip but unless
you're signing any multi-million dollar contracts as a pitcher,
it's not worth giving up. But it's still annoying.
Of course it doesn't. I've been doing it for years and if
anything, it increases felxibility and keeps your fingers supple. I
would know, I play the guitar and the piano and it always
No is your answer, i am a sports and fitness major and i have
askeds many of my Prof. and they all say the same thing there is no
evidence that cracking your knuckles inflames the joints and leads
to arthritis. the cracking causes the bones to pull apart, forming
a gas bubble in the joint, and that's what makes the sound.
There has never been a meaningful study done that has shown
knuckle cracking to be harmful to the finger joints. 25% of
Americans crack habitually.
Cracking your knuckles will likely not cause arthritis. There
is no evidence that it will. However, as a long time knuckle
cracker I can tell you that there are dangers to knuckle cracking.
You can sprain your joints if you are not careful.
I have always cracked my fingers, toes and arm. I also have
arthritis and know that it is inherited from my mother (who does
not crack). Has anyone thought about maybe it could be the other
way around, maybe having arthritis even in the early stages makes
some people need to crack their joints. Maybe it is a condition
where some people have excess nitrogen buildup in their joints,
making them feel uncomfortable and causing pain and related some
how to having arthritis.
It has been found that there is no relationship between
arthritis and knuckle-cracking. There are two main types of
arthritis osteo which is non inflammatory form of arthritis, and
rheumatoid arthritis which is an
autoimmune disease effecting the joints.
No there is absolutely no evidence that knuckle-cracking causes
any sort of arthritis.
Arthritis is a problem that causes a wearing away of normal
joint surfaces. Joints are the points where two bones meet each
other. These junctions have special linings on the bones to allow
motion at the joints. When this special lining (cartilage) is worn
away, arthritis is the condition that results.
Finger and thumb arthritis is common, because there are 27
bones in each hand! This means that there are many joints in the
fingers that can develop arthritis. Furthermore, we are very
dependent on our fingers for many normal activities. Any problem
that affects these joints can limit many normal activities.