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Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis?

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Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis?

Male teen with closed eyes cracking knuckles.— Pexels
Male teen with closed eyes cracking knuckles.— Pexels

There are numerous why people crack or pop their knuckles. Some do it to relieve pressure and stiffness, others do it as a nervous tic, still, others do it because they are restless, and some people, especially kids, simply do it to irritate others.

Many of us were told as children as well as adults that cracking your knuckles would cause arthritis. Is that warning accurate?

No, it is not. Knuckle cracking won’t make you develop arthritis.

According to Harvard Health, cracking your knuckles widens the area between your finger joints, causing gas bubbles in the fluid between your joints to burst. That is what generates the crackling or popping noise.

It usually takes around 20 minutes before you may break the same joint again since it takes time for the gas bubbles to build up inside the joint once more.

There is no proof that knuckle-cracking will lead to arthritis, according to decades’ worth of research. Studies have not revealed any proof that knuckle cracking is beneficial either. Simply said, the practice has no effect on the onset of arthritis, whatsoever.

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two types of arthritis that people are most familiar with. Osteoarthritis is a condition of the joints where damage affects the bones in the joints, deteriorates the connective tissue in the joints, and harms the joint lining, according to the Arthritis Foundation. A hyperactive immune system assaults healthy tissue in the autoimmune illness of rheumatoid arthritis.

According to Houston Methodist Hospital, the biggest factor influencing whether you’ll develop osteoarthritis in the future — which normally doesn’t occur in people until their 40s or older — is heredity.

“The vast majority of arthritis patients have a genetic predisposition to the disease,” said John Fackler, an orthopaedics and sports medicine doctor, in a Houston Methodist blog post. “However, if you have an injury when you’re young or tear a ligament or meniscus, that puts you at higher risk for arthritis when you get older.”

Numerous medical institutions, such as Tufts Medical Center, Harvard Health, Cleveland Clinic, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, concur that cracking your knuckles won’t enhance your risk of acquiring arthritis.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences says that repetitive knuckle cracking could exacerbate symptoms if you already have osteoarthritis. Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre cautions that pushing and twisting the joint might exacerbate other underlying diseases like gout or trauma.

There is less agreement regarding the potential consequences of persistent, long-term knuckle-cracking on your hands that are not related to arthritis.

According to Cleveland Clinic, a study from 2017 found no difference in grip strength between persons who regularly crack their knuckles and people who don’t, despite a 1990s study finding weaker hand grips and more hand oedema among those who did so.

“While the existing research on knuckle cracking is thin, the available evidence tells us that there are few if any long-term side effects to be concerned about,” according to Cleveland Clinic.

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