It’s been said that cracking your knuckles can lead to detrimental side-effects, such as arthritis. Does this claim have any truth?
Many studies have shown no correlation between arthritis and cracking your knuckles, but there is a relationship between knuckle-cracking and hand swelling, loss of lower grip strength, ligament damage, soft tissue injuries and dislocation. This is the result of rapid and repeated stretching of ligaments. Most people crack their back or neck due to the pressure that builds up within the spine. Usually this feels like a deep tightness that is alleviated by a quick movement of the spine which releases the buildup pressure and as the result creates a popping or cracking sound. This sound occurs by stretching the bones apart, which creates space between the articular cartilage and the joint capsule. That vacuum allows more dissolved gas to enter the capsule as a bubble. When the gas bubble bursts, you hear that characteristic popping sound. The reason you can’t re-crack the involved joint immediately is that the gas needs to rebuild in the joint. In a study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, researchers tried to see what harm is caused by cracking joints, if not arthritis. Unfortunately, they found that 84 percent of long-term knuckle crackers experienced hand swelling later in life, while only 6 percent of noncrackers did.
If you find that you crack your back or any other joint in your body on a regular basis, you should get checked out by a back specialist, who can screen for spinal problems. Visit a CHIROPRACTOR, physical therapist, or orthopedist before your problem gets worse.