Knuckle cracking is a common behaviour enjoyed by many. Studies have shown that more than half the population crack their knuckles regularly, which can be caused by multiple reasons. A few of the main reasons include:
- It is related to your nervousness
- People think of it as releasing stress
- People enjoy the sound produced of cracking knuckles
- Once you start cracking your knuckles for any of these reasons it becomes a habit
Although this habit can be satisfying for some, knuckle-cracking has gotten a bad rapport over the years – particularly because of the belief that cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis. But are cracking knuckles really bad for you?
What causes the cracking sound?
The popping or cracking sound that happens when we crack your knuckles or fingers is caused by the popping bubbles in your synovial fluid, which is responsible for lubricating your joints. When you pull your bones apart, there is a build-up of negative pressure, causing these bubbles to burst. It is also possible for your joints to produce a popping sound due to the movement of your ligaments when stretching or bending the joints in your fingers.
But does it actually cause arthritis?
Answer – You may have heard people say that cracking knuckles leads to arthritis. The Department of Orthopaedics noted that there is no evidence that knuckle cracking causes arthritis. Understanding what physically occurs when you crack your knuckles will help you realize that the ‘knuckle cracking causes arthritis’ theory is actually just a popular myth. That’s the good news if you like to crack your knuckles, but it’s bad news for those of us who can’t stand it when you do it.
Cracking your knuckles shouldn’t be painful, cause swelling or change the shape of the joint. If any of these things happen something else is going on. If you pull hard enough, it is possible to pull your finger out of the joint or injure the ligaments around the joint. If you notice your joints are painful or swollen while cracking your knuckles, it is likely due to an underlying condition such as arthritis or gout and if you don’t experience any sort of pain while knuckle cracking then you are free to indulge yourself.