Ever heard of the old wives tale, “Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis or enlarged knuckles.”?
The exact reason a joint pops and crack is not completely understood and could have several different causes. It could be a tendon snapping over a bone, arthritic joints rubbing together, or simply breaking suction in the joint when the finger is manipulated (hopkinsortho.org).
Dr. J. Clinton Walker, MD in our office explains, “Other than annoying the people around you, popping knuckles does not pose any harm.”
So what is arthritis?
Arthritis is defined as inflammation of a joint. In some arthritis types, such as osteoarthritis, the inflammation is caused by the articular cartilage (smooth covering at the ends of the bones) becoming damaged or worn. (Source below). Osteoarthritis is developed primarily from genetics first and foremost, injuries to the joint, and daily “wear and tear” activities.
Dr. Walker says that “there have been numerous studies performed on the subject of cracking knuckles. All of them are equivocal on the idea that it would affect arthritis or enlarge knuckles.”
If you have pain associated with the popping or cracking or the joint gets locked or catches than that is when you should consider seeing a medical professional (hopkinsortho.org).
Even though it is not known to be damaging to your joints, you might consider doing the people around you a favor and give them a break from cracking your knuckles. That sound has been known to make people cringe!
Author: Stephanie Jones