Statistics show that 54 per cent of people crack their knuckles and they do it for a lot of reasons. Some do it as a habit, or as a way to relieve tension.
If you regularly crack your knuckles, you may have heard that doing so will enlarge them or cause arthritis in your joints. Is there any truth to this? Find out in this article.
What Really Happens When We Crack Our Knuckles?
The human joint contains a liquid called ‘synovial fluid’. Its function is to lubricate the joints. When we pull or bend our knuckles, we put negative pressure on the joints and a nitrogen gas bubble is formed. This bubble then bursts, giving that pop sound we hear when we crack our knuckles. This process is also known as ‘Cavitation.’
When we crack our knuckles, it takes about 20mins before we are able to do it again because that is the amount of time it takes for the cavity to fully collapse so a new cavity could be formed.
The fact is that medically, painless cracking of joints is not harmful. However, common sense would generally suggest that the intentional and repetitive cracking of one’s joints is not only potentially bothersome socially but could also be physically troublesome when it produces pain.
Can I get arthritis from cracking my knuckles?
It is not possible to get arthritis from cracking your knuckles, no matter how hard you try. Dr. Donald L. Unger did an experiment on himself. In his experiment, he cracked his left knuckles twice every day for 50 years and when he went for an MRI of the Left hand the result proved that it was normal and just the same with the right hand.
Symptoms to which people link cracking of knuckles are:
1. Pain at the joint.
2. Swelling of the joint.
3. Low grip strength.
But if you notice these symptoms while cracking your knuckles, it is most likely due to an underlying medical condition, such as arthritis or gout.
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If you have a habit of cracking your knuckles, here’s a tip:
1. Think about why you crack your knuckles and address any underlying issues.
2. Find another way to relieve stress, such as deep breathing, exercise, or meditation.
3. Occupy your hands with other stress relievers, such as squeezing a stress ball or rubbing a worry stone.
4. Become aware of each time you crack your knuckles and consciously stop yourself.
When To See A Doctor
Cracking your knuckles doesn’t cause harm; so, it shouldn’t be painful or cause swelling or change the shape of the joint. If you see these signs, there is something wrong, and you should be evaluated by your doctor.
Thank you for reading,
From Dr kelly
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