How Do You Stop Cracking Your Knuckles
Although popping your knuckles wont necessarily harm you, it may feel uncomfortable and can also be distracting to the people around you. But if knuckle-cracking has become a habit, you may find it difficult to stop even if you want to.
When youre ready to break the habit, the following tips can help:
- If you crack your knuckles to help reduce stress, try taking up another stress-relieving practice like deep breathing or meditation.
- Think about why you regularly crack your knuckles. If you do it when youre anxious or because your joints always feel tense, address the underlying issue that makes you want to pop your joints.
- Practice more awareness around your knuckle popping. When you find yourself about to crack a knuckle, consciously stop.
- Give your hands something else to do. Try squeezing a stress ball, playing with a fidget toy, or stretching your hands instead.
- Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it each time youre tempted to crack your knuckles.
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Is Cracking Knuckles Harmful
While most studies show that it is not necessarily harmful to the joints, and can be acts of impulse and breaking from a monotony, like any habit, it can get worse over time if not regulated. Since it involves âsnappingâ of joints, you must be mindful of the stress it can have on the tendons, ligaments and nerves in and around the joints. Too much cracking can result in injury to the joints. It can also be looked down upon in a social setting where people might find it uncomfortable.
Will Arthritis Go Away
Although theres no cure for arthritis, treatments have improved greatly in recent years and, for many types of arthritis, particularly inflammatory arthritis, theres a clear benefit in starting treatment at an early stage. It may be difficult to say what has caused your arthritis.
What type of arthritis is caused by broken bones?
Osteoarthritis causes cartilage the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints.
What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis?
The most obvious difference between osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis is that osteoporosis affects the bones, whereas rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints. Bones are made up of a combination of collagen fibers and minerals such as calcium.
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Why Do My Joints Crack During Exercise
Athletes can hear joint cracking when they participate in strenuous activities such as running and plyometricsthe sound results from tight muscles that are causing friction against bones. If athletes stretch appropriately before exercise, it can help to relax the muscles. In doing so, you can decrease the number cracking sounds, as well as decrease the risk of injury.
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Should I See A Doctor
Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.
So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?
If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesnt go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.
Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:
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What Are The Myths About Knuckle Cracking
1. Knuckle cracking causes early-onset arthritis and joint pain.
2. Knuckle cracking, in the long run, causes joint swelling and enlarged knuckles.
3. Knuckle cracking helps relieve stress and anxiety.
4. Knuckle cracking makes the joints more mobile and stretchable, boosting ones physical capabilities in sports.
5. Knuckle cracking relieves pain such as back pain and headache.
6. Knuckle cracking causes weakness of the adjoining muscles and weakens the grip.
Quick Dose: Can You Get Arthritis From Cracking Your Knuckles
If a friend told you cracking your knuckles causes arthritis, they might have just been searching for a nice way to get you to stop the habit.
The truth is, there is no connection between cracking your knuckles and arthritis or any other long-term health problem.
When you crack your knuckles, the popping noises, or crepitus, result from gas bubbles in the fluid that helps lubricate your joints. The bubbles pop when you pull the bones apart, either by stretching the fingers or bending them backward. It releases some endorphins that help reduce pain, but otherwise, its thought to be a harmless habit that doesnt signal any type of health problem.
Eric M. Ruderman, MD, professor of medicine, associate chief, clinical affairs, Division of Rheumatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Clinical Practice Director, Rheumatology, Northwestern Medical Group
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Can Cracking My Neck Cause Arthritis
Do you often crack your neck? If so, you may wonder if this habit could be causing arthritis. Arthritis is a common condition that can cause joint pain and stiffness. While there are different forms of arthritis, the most common form is osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage that protects the bones.
Experts can treat neck pain in . Methods like spinal cord stimulation, epidural injections, and trigger point injections can be used to help relieve pain.
Read on to understand how cracking your neck can cause arthritis and what you can do to prevent it.
Why Joints Crack Or Pop
No one exactly knows why crepitus, the cracking or popping sounds made by the bending joint, occurs. With that said, it is a common condition thought to be caused by one of several processes, including:
- Cavitation: This is a harmless phenomenon in which a vacuum develops in the lubricating fluid surrounding a joint, called synovial fluid. When a joint quickly bends, the rapid release of pressure can cause a cracking sound.
- Escaping gas: If a joint is expanded or flexed, air bubbles can gradually build up in the synovial fluid in the joint space. When the joint is bent, the rapid escape of gas can cause a popping or cracking sound.
- Rapid stretching of ligaments: Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bone to bone. If a joint is rapidly bent, the ligament can sometimes make a snapping sound, particularly if it is displaced.
- Joint erosion: When the smooth white tissues between joints, called cartilage, are worn away, they can cause bone to rub against bone. This can cause grating or crunching sounds with movement.
- Broken adhesions: An adhesion is the sticking together of tissues. This can occur after an injury when scar tissues effectively âglue togetherâ adjacent membranes or tissue. When this occurs between the joints, the rapid bending of the joint can cause the adhesion to break, creating a snapping or popping noise.
Generally speaking, if crepitus isnât accompanied by pain or affecting your mobility, treatment isnât necessary.
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Possible Changes In The Hand
Research suggests people who often crack their knuckles may have:
Like the research regarding knuckle cracking and arthritis, the research regarding these potential effects also sometimes conflicts. For example, the same study1Yildizgören MT, Ekiz T, Nizamogullari S, Turhanoglu AD, Guler H, Ustun N, Kara M, Özçakar L. Effects of habitual knuckle cracking on metacarpal cartilage thickness and grip strength. Hand Surg Rehabil. 2017 Feb 36:41-43. doi: 10.1016/j.hansur.2016.09.001. Epub 2016 Oct 11. PubMed PMID: 28137441 that reported knuckle crackers had cartilage changes did not find they had weaker grip strength.
Studies examining knuckle cracking tend to be small, ranging from 35 to 300 people. Also, most compare knuckle crackers and non-crackers at a single point in time. Larger, longer-term studies that measure changes in hands over time are necessary to draw more clear conclusions.
Is Age A Factor In Joint Cracking
Age can contribute to joint cracking. As you age, your joints make more noise as the cartilage wears down. You do not need arthritis to have joint cracking with age.
You may only notice the noise when you do certain movements or in certain joints. Through strengthening muscles around those joints, symptoms can often be relieved.
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While Its Probably Not Going To Lead To Harm Cracking Your Knuckles Doesnt Necessarily Have Any Benefits Either
We all know a knuckle cracker. If youre one yourself, you probably spent your childhood listening to well-meaning adults tell you to stop, before you cause damage to your joints.
As an adult, you might also get a feeling of relief out of cracking your back or neck but why does this happen, and is it safe? Heres what you should know.
Whats The Science Behind Knuckle Cracking
If youve everwondered what causes the popping sound were all so familiar with, youre notalone. Researchers have debated the matter for decades and offer varioustheories.1
- In 1939, researchers posited that the popping sound was caused by atightening of the fibrous capsule surrounding the joint after the joint is adjustedor moved.
- In 1947, the leading theory was that vibrations in the tissue wereresponsible for the noise.
- In 1971, the popping sound was thought to be caused by collapse ofcavitation bubbles in the synovial fluid.
- In 2015, using magnetic resonance imaging , researchers demonstratedthat the cavitation bubbles in the joint remained after the popping soundoccurs, throwing into question the bubble collapse theory.
Finally, in 2018,researchers from Stanford University and E´ cole Polytechnique inPalaiseau, France, published a mathematical model that aimed to put the debateto rest.1
The investigators found evidence that what researchershad theorized in 1971 is true: the collapse of cavitation bubbles produces asound. They found what researchers had demonstrated 44 years later is alsotrue: bubbles persist after a sound is generated.
How can both be true?
Through their mathematical model, the researchersdemonstrated that the bubbles only partly collapse, leaving behind a stablemicro-bubble. The sudden, incomplete contraction of the cavitation bubbleproduces an audible sound, while leaving behind enough bubble to be detectableby MRI.
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Will Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis
The Department of Orthopedics noted there is no evidence that knuckle cracking causes arthritis. However, repeatedly cracking your knuckles may cause temporary soreness of the joint. Knuckles are the joints between your fingers and your hands. These joints are surrounded and lubricated by synovial fluid, a thick, clear liquid. When you crack your knuckles, youre causing the bones of the joint to pull apart. This causes a gas bubble to form in the joint. The cracking or popping sound you hear is the breaking of the adhesive seal in the joint.
The repetitive motion of cracking your knuckles wears down the joints and their protective cushioning. This means individuals who currently have osteoarthritis, caused by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, could worsen their symptoms by cracking their knuckles repeatedly. However, cracking your knuckles plays no role in rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused when a persons own immune system attacks their joints.
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How Does Cracking Your Neck Cause Arthritis
When you are constantly cracking your neck, you are putting a lot of stress on the joints and ligaments in your neck. It can cause the cartilage in your neck to degenerate, eventually leading to arthritis. Also, cracking your neck can damage your nerves, leading to numbness or tingling in your arms and legs.
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So I Can Crack My Knuckles Freely Theres No Risk Of Arthritis
There are several types of arthritis, but knuckle-cracking is most commonly associated with osteoarthritis. In simple terms, Osteoarthritis is a disease where the articular cartilage, located at the end of the bone on each joint, starts to break down and flake off, causing pain, stiffness and swelling over time, Dr. Fackler explains.
Osteoarthritis is age- and genetic-relatedand people dont get significant osteoarthritis until theyre in their 40s, 50s or older, Dr. Fackler says. The vast majority of arthritis patients have a genetic predisposition to the disease. However, if you have an injury when youre young or tear a ligament or meniscus, that puts you at higher risk for arthritis when you get older.
So Does Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis
The short answer? Probably not, according to Husni. A study published in 2011 in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that habitual knuckle cracking did not seem to be a risk factor for hand osteoarthritis. But Husni says cracking your knuckles can lead to other joint issues.
The term arthritis refers to loss of cartilage where your joint space gets more narrow over time, she explains. Eventually, bone meets bone in that joint, and thats really uncomfortable.
As opposed to actual arthritis, Husni says cracking your knuckles can lead to joint laxity, which can cause painand you might mistake that sensation for arthritis. In other words, thats where this myth comes from.
Now, lets break down what it means to develop joint laxity. Any time you do things to your joints that are outside their normal range of motion , that can cause the joints to loosen, according to Husni. And the more you do it, the looser your joints are likely to become, and the more permanently your joints stay in a relaxed state.
But a word of caution: As you get older, there’s a higher chance of arthritis in general, Husni says. So while cracking your knuckles probably doesnt cause arthritis, you could certainly still wind up with it.
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What Is Cracking Your Knuckles
The first thing to know is that there is no actual cracking going on. Joints are covered by the synovial capsule. Inside the capsule is synovial fluid which helps lubricate the joint. Gases are continuously dissolved in the synovial fluid. When you crack your knuckle, you stretch the capsule which lowers the pressure and creates a vacuum. A bubble of gas is formed and due to the pressure from when you bent your finger, it bursts, creating the popping or cracking sound you hear.
Tendons Snapping Over Joints
Tendons keep muscles attached to bones, while ligaments connect bones to other bones. Ligaments can make popping noises when they tighten while the joint is moving. Tendons can make a popping noise when they move out of place and snap back into position as the joint moves.
People often hear these noises in their knee and ankle joints when they stand up from sitting or while walking up or down the stairs.
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Will Cracking Your Joints Cause Arthritis
The Big Question. Various studies conducted across the world do not point towards any evidence that cracking joints does indeed causearthritis. However, pain followed by cracking joints, random bursts of pain, cracking of joints while moving around, etc could be markers of arthritis onset. However, there is no inherent proof that correlates cracking of joints with the causes of arthritis. It is important to identify the causes of arthritis such as health, age and genetics of the individual.
What Happens When You Crack Your Fingers
Researchers have been able to put these hypotheses to bed by discovering what exactly is going on when you snap-crackle-pop your fingers and knuckles. There is actually a medical term for cracking your joints, and its called articular release meaning you are releasing a sensation of pressure, creating relief after cracking the joint. Youre not breaking anything nothing is detaching.
When you crack your fingers, you are stretching the joint past its degree of usual rotation, but not past its anatomic barrier. In other words, you need something else to push it to that point, such as using your other hand to pull back the fingers or to squeeze the knuckles.
Researchers have reported that the cracking sound is due to a sudden release of gaseous bubbles from fluid in the joint. This mixture of gas and liquid is thought to be what causes the feeling of pressure in the first place.
When the joint is cracked, the pressure is released which leaves a feeling of relief, as well as a more comfortable range of motion. Most people dont feel this pressure in their fingers or other joints, so they have difficulty understanding what that pressure feels like.
And because it doesnt feel like pain, its difficult to describe the feeling to someone else. Suffice it to say that the pressure gives the sensation of a slight tension, and the tension is relieved when the joint is pushed or pulled, which often creates this cracking sound.
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How It Affects Your Joints
Although cracking your knuckles regularly can be relatively harmless, it can also cause damage if its done incorrectly or too frequently. If you pull or crack your knuckles incorrectly, you can actually cause a ligament injury or even dislocate your fingers. If you notice sudden pain or swelling after cracking your knuckles, you may have caused an injury to your joint ant you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
Cracking your knuckles consistently can also wear away the cartilage in your joints over time, resulting in pain-causing inflammation within your joints.