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Is Cracking Your Knuckles Bad for Your Joints?

We’ve all heard the myth that cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis. You most likely heard it from a disgruntled teacher or parent who was annoyed at you cracking every knuckle one by one. However, you can rest assured that cracking your knuckles a lot as a kid (or an adult) will not result in arthritis. In fact, they are completely unrelated.

The popping noise you hear is nitrogen bubbles escaping from the synovial fluid, the lubricant that reduces friction and preserves cartilage in our joints. Some people experience more of a buildup of nitrogen than others, which is why some crack their knuckles multiple times a day

and others don’t or can’t. So, you’re not ruining your joints if you can’t help but satisfy that urge.


Why Do People Crack Their Knuckles?

People crack their knuckles for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The sound
  • The feeling
  • Nervousness
  • Stress
  • Habit

Tips to Stop Cracking Your Knuckles

Do you want to stop cracking your knuckles? Below are some tips to help you kick the habit!

  • Find out why you’re cracking your knuckles. Is it stress? Boredom? Address the underlying feelings that are causing you to fall into this habit.
  • Practice deep breathing or meditation whenever you want to crack your knuckles.
  • Get something else to occupy your hands. This could be something as simple as a pen, stress ball, or something else you like the feel of.
  • Be vigilant with yourself and consciously stop whenever you feel the urge.

Should You See A Doctor?

While most don’t need to see a doctor for cracking their knuckles, you may need to if you begin experiencing pain or swelling. This could be a sign of a pulled tendon or a damaged joint. If you’re experiencing pain, make an appointment at Beacon Orthopaedics and be seen by a specialist without a referral!