Is Cracking Your Knuckles Actually Bad for You?
Cracking your knuckles is a pretty common habit. Most of us have heard that we shouldn’t crack our knuckles though. You might be wondering if this is actually bad or not. You might also want to know whether or not cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis. Let’s look into this habit and learn more about the risks!
Why Do Knuckles Crack?
According to Time, the void between your bones causes negative pressure. When you crack your knuckles, the synovial fluid is sent to that space. As Medical News Today notes, “between 25 and 54 percent of people crack their knuckles.” It’s s fairly common habit.
There are several different methods that people use to crack their knuckles. These include:
- Turning your fingers sideways
- Pulling on the bones
- Bending your fingers back and forth
They all work similarly, but people often have their own preferences. Usually, people will experience more mobility and flexibility after cracking their knuckles. Others do it to relax or to relieve stress. Regardless of why someone pops their joints, this can easily become a habit.
Is It Bad to Crack Your Knuckles?
According to Cobb Chiropractic Injury Clinic of Greensboro, a chiropractor in Greensboro, NC, cracking your knuckles doesn’t cause any health problems. It’s totally safe. Myths about cracking your knuckles causing arthritis simply aren’t true.
There is a chance that the grip can be softened. The soft tissue in your fingers might swell. These studies have limited research though, so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
On the other hand, there’s nothing to be gained by cracking your knuckles either. You won’t see any health benefits as a result of popping your joints. Some people do crack their knuckles to relieve pain or pressure. It can also give your fingers more flexibility.
Why Do People Think It’s Bad to Crack Your Knuckles?
The main reason that people don’t like it when others crack their knuckles is because it sounds like something is breaking.
Additionally, there are rumors that cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis. Even though this is a myth, it gets spread around. Many people truly believe that popping your joints will lead to arthritis and other issues.
There was a study in 1990 that stated that cracking your knuckles would cause weakened grip strength and hand swelling. Luckily, this has since been proven incorrect. Still, it’s another reason that people believe that cracking your knuckles is bad.
Does Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis?
There is no evidence that cracking your knuckles will contribute to arthritis. One researcher cracked all of the joints in his left hand for about 60 years. He didn’t crack the ones in his right hand. In the end, there was not an increase of arthritis in his left hand. This study shows us that cracking your knuckles doesn’t contribute to arthritis.
If you already have arthritis, cracking your knuckles will probably not make it worse. If your joints are already weak, you might be at higher risk for injury. Cracking knuckles with arthritis does not directly cause any issues.
What Actually Causes Arthritis?
There are two main types of arthritis. One is caused by inflammation and the other is degenerative. There is not a clear cause of either type of arthritis. It does seem like aging, mechanical stress, and genetics could play a role.
Is It Okay to Crack Other Parts of Your Body?
You might crack your neck, knees, back, or other body parts. It’s important to note that the answer to this question can vary.
If you are cracking your back or neck on purpose, you might overstretch your ligaments. You could have alignment problems in your body too. Misalignment can contribute to limited mobility or pain.
This can also mean that you’re neglecting a potential health concern. If you’re cracking your joints, it’s usually to relieve some pain or tension. You might consider visiting a doctor or a chiropractor for assistance with that pain.
If your joints crack naturally, that’s great! There are no problems with that.
When Should You Not Crack Your Knuckles?
If you experience pain when cracking your knuckles, it’s a good idea to stop. This could be a sign of a health issue, which should be evaluated by a medical professional.
According to WebMD, “If cracking is accompanied by pain, there could be underlying abnormalities of the structures of the joint, such as loose cartilage or injured ligaments.”
Whenever you notice pain in your joints, it’s a good idea to give your doctor a call. There might be an underlying issue occurring. This is true whether the pain is in your fingers or other parts of your body.
Cracking your knuckles is actually totally safe. It won’t cause arthritis. You can crack your fingers as long as it’s not causing you pain. If you do notice joint pain, talk to your doctor to figure out what the problem might be.