Myth or Medicine: Can You Get Arthritis From Cracking Your Knuckles?

Man wrist and hands
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Although it can be an annoying habit for those around you, one can wonder if the old wives’ tale “knuckle cracking leads to arthritis,” Is just that – a tall tale.

What is that Popping Noise?

What is happening when you hear that explosive crack? That oh-so-satisfying popping noise is actually the fluid surrounding your joints. When bent or stretched, little bubbles form within the fluid causing the POP effect.

You would think, with bubbles so small, you wouldn’t notice that they were ever there. Scientists aren’t certain why the popping sounds of the bubbles are so loud. However, they do know that it takes time for the gases to settle back into the fluid, which is why you can’t crack your knuckles immediately after doing so.

To Crack, or Not to Crack?

Why is it that some people crack their knuckles and others don’t? Those who regularly use their hands tend to find relief in the sensation. Painters, writers, and typists over time become reliant on the relief that cracking knuckles brings them. The same way a particular yoga stretch or a visit to the chiropractor might loosen just the right spots, cracking knuckles can bring a great release for some.

The Verdict

So, let’s pop the question: Does cracking your knuckles cause arthritis? There have been multiple studies over the years and all of them show no connection between knuckle cracking and arthritis.

If you enjoy cracking your knuckles, know that doctors suggest pulling on a joint, rather than bending, since it is the safest way of getting the feeling of relief. If you have any arthritis or other orthopedic concerns, be sure to visit an AdventHealth Centra Care location today.

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