Is Cracking Your Knuckles Bad?

Sruthi | 25 - 03 - 2020
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In a study, it was found that more than 25% of people crack their knuckles and most of them are males. There are many reasons why people crack their knuckles:

  • People believe that cracking their knuckles can reduce stress.
  • Some people love hearing the sound of knuckle cracking as they feel it is satisfying.
  • Once it becomes a habit, it is really hard to give up on it.
  • People tend to do it at times when they feel nervous, just like biting nails, tapping fingers.

What Is Knuckle Cracking?

Pulling or bending of one’s fingers to produce a popping or cracking sound is known as Knuckle cracking and stretching your fingers can actually decrease the pressure inside the fluid-filled capsules. It is sometimes performed by physical therapists and chiropractors.

What Causes the Sound While Cracking Your Knuckle?

A joint is the part where two bones join. The joints of your fingers are called Synovial joints, they are surrounded by a fluid called synovial fluid which allows your fingers to move without causing any pain. Air Bubbles can form in this fluid and nitrogen, oxygen and carbon-di-oxide are the gases that are mostly present in the fluid.  So in a study in 1971, it was announced that the popping sound while knuckle-cracking was the air bubbles bursting.

1. 1. What Is the Name of the Fluid That Allows Your Fingers to Move without Causing Any Pain?
  • A. Synovial fluid
  • B. Intracellular fluid
  • C. Extracellular fluid
  • D. Cerebrospinal Fluid

But later, it was found that the air bubbles still exist in the knuckles even after knuckle cracking and also it wasn’t clear how the bursting of bubbles can sound loud enough.

Recently, it was proposed that the sound while knuckle cracking comes from partial collapsing of the bubbles in the fluid. They simulated a partial air bubble collapse using math. It explained both the dominant frequency of the sound and also why the bubbles still exist even after knuckle-cracking.

Is Cracking Your Knuckles Bad?

Many people believe that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis but there is no appropriate evidence for it. According to many studies, there is no harm caused due to cracking knuckles unless it is accompanied by pain. If you experience any discomfort or pain while cracking knuckles this could be due to some pre-existing condition that might be aggravated by twisting or bending the joints. Make sure to visit a doctor for a checkup if this condition persists.

Now wondering why you shouldn’t crack your knuckles? Even though cracking your knuckles doesn’t cause any harm there are some significant side effects. Individuals who crack their knuckles regularly tend to have weaker grips and swelling of the hands.

How Can You Get Rid of This Habit?

Knuckle cracking can be really addictive and it’s not easy to get rid of. Here are some simple tips that may help you with this:

  • You can follow the technique called ‘reward system’ where you will reward yourself for not cracking your knuckles.
  • Keep your hands busy, give your hands some work to do like squeezing a ball, or learn to twirl a coin or pencil.
  • Take up a new hobby that keeps your hands always engaged like drawing, painting, etc.

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