Coping With Finger Arthritis
It can be very difficult having a degenerative illness, because it feels like youll never get better. And while it is true that arthritis is generally not completely curable, many people learn to manage their symptoms and live perfectly happy and productive lives.
Here are some tips for coping with arthritis:
- Seek treatment: It can be easy to want to go it alone, but a doctor can help connect you with resources and prescribe you with medication that could be the difference between surviving and thriving.
- Seek support from others: Ask for help when you need it from family members and friends, and if your condition is having a strong effect on your mental health, you may consider seeking out a chronic pain support group in your area.
With support from family, friends, and medical providers, you can live your life to the fullest, and not let finger arthritis control your world.
Will Cracking Your Fingers Cause Arthritis
The symptoms of arthritis depend on the type that you have and the location. Common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, caused by wear and tear on the joints rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own joints and gout, caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body. Symptoms of arthritis include: joint pain and tenderness, inflammation in and around the joints, restricted movement of the joints, and warm, red skin over the affected joint.
Have you heard someone in your life say time and time again, Stop cracking your knuckles, you will get arthritis. Believe it or not, that notion is untrue. There is no scientific evidence that has conclusively shown that cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis. Cracking knuckles is still a bad nervous habit to some, and studies have shown that between 25 and 54 percent of people do it to relieve nerves and tension.
All the joints in our bodies are surrounded by a thick, clear liquid called synovial fluid. When you stretch or bend your fingers to pop the knuckles, you are causing the bones of the joint to pull apart. Therefore, when you crack your knuckles, the popping sound that you hear is due to the formation and buildup of bubbles and gas in the synovial fluid.
To find out if you may be suffering from arthritis, call Spectrum Orthopaedics at our North Canton office at 305-0838 / 469-2663 or use our online appointment request form.
Can Popping Your Joints Cause Arthritis
Can you believe all those things Mom used to tell you? What about what she said about cracking your knuckles? Could that really give you arthritis or is it just something she made up to get you to stop making that annoying noise?
There are a lot of medical myths floating around these days thanks to the Internet and wel start with the real truth behind cracking knuckles.
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Treatments Methods To Relieve Symptoms
Finger arthritis is easily diagnosed because it is common. Most treatments for finger arthritis will match treatments for arthritis in general. These can include medications like:
- Topical creams: These usually contain ingredients like capsaicin or diclofenac, which are applied over the skin around the joint and can relieve pain and soothe inflammation.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Acetaminophen , ibuprofen or naproxen sodium are common choices. Always take these in accordance with the guidance on the label.
- Prescription pain relievers: Celecoxib or tramadol . These are unlikely to be prescribed for mild symptoms.
Many patients also benefit from exercises to treat their finger arthritis. Some exercises that may help include:
- Make a fist: Slowly and deliberately form a fist, then release it until the fingers are straight again. This is a great way to get all your fingers and your whole hand moving at once, and its easy to do literally anywhere.
- Finger bends: Slowly bend each finger at each joint, holding it in each position for a few seconds. This is a great way to focus on an individual finger thats bothering you.
- Thumb bends: Gently touch your thumb to the base of your pinkie, or as close as you can comfortably reach.
- Finger lifts: Putting your hand flat on a table, gently lift each finger individually.
There are many more arthritis exercises than just these, so you can always talk to your doctor if you are unsure of what to do.
Question: Are There Any Side Effects To Cracking Knuckles
There is no evidence that cracking knuckles causes any damage such as arthritis in the joints. However, a couple of reports in the medical literature are available associating knuckle cracking with injury of the ligaments surrounding the joint or dislocation of the tendons which improved with conservative treatment. A study found that after many years of cracking habitual knuckle crackers may have reduced grip strength compared with people not cracking their knuckles.
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Cracking Your Knuckles May Be Annoying But Is Not Harmful
For many years people have asserted that cracking your knuckles will make them fat or give you arthritis. Studies, however, have consistently shown that cracking your knuckles does not improve or harm your joints. There is no proven link between arthritis of any kind and cracking your knuckles.
There is one thing that you should be aware of though, if the cracking causes pain, then you may have legitimate cause for concern. An injury to a joint, even a severe sprain, can make you seven times more likely to develop osteoarthritis in later years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, osteoarthritis affects an estimated 27 million people in the United States alone. Osteoarthritis is associated with damage due to wear and tear as well as injuries to joints, bones, tendons and ligaments.
Additionally, some patients who have tendinitis or bursitis say that they do notice more frequent cracking sounds around inflamed, often painful joints. This is due to an underlying abnormality caused by joint damage. The tissues are swollen, which causes interference with their motion that may become audible.
Does The Pop Cause Arthritis
No! There is currently nothing that shows cavitation causes arthritis in any joint. Adjustments in the spine causes a brief gapping of the spinal joints, however, people who pop their knuckles tend to grind the joint surfaces instead. There is still nothing that shows this causes osteoarthritis, but people do tend to have hand issues long term.
In a study of 300 people aged 45 and older, habitual knuckle crackers were not found to have an increased risk or presence of arthritis in their hands. However, they were more likely to have hand swelling and lower grip strength. 1
In short, popping your knuckles isnt going to cause arthritis like your parents told you, but it is best to avoid popping your knuckles due to the other long term problems it may cause.
If you have any other questions or concerns about this or any other condition please contact our office.
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How The Knuckle Joint Works And Why You Can Crack It
A joint is formed where the ends of two bones come together. The ends of the two bones are covered by articular cartilage. The cartilage is surrounded by what is called the joint capsule. Inside the joint capsule, there is synovial fluid which serves as a lubricant for the joint and also as a source of nutrients for the cells that maintain the joint cartilage.
Synovial fluid contains dissolved gasses oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. When you crack your knuckles or when pressure is applied to a joint, the pressure inside the joint capsule expands but the expansion is limited by how much synovial fluid is contained in the joint. Synovial fluid cannot expand unless pressure inside the joint capsule drops and the dissolved gasses can escape out of the fluid. The cracking sound comes from the gasses rapidly being released from the fluid.
So Can Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis
No and theres ample scientific research to back up why not. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine looked at 215 people between ages 50 and 89 who had had an X-ray of their right hand during the previous five years. The researchers found a similar incidence of knuckle OA in any one joint among people who said they cracked their knuckles and those who didnt, irrespective of how frequently or for how many years the person cracked.
Another study, published in a 1998 issue of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology, was done by a single doctor who experimented on his own hands. Over his lifetime, he cracked the knuckles of one hand, but not the other. After decades of this behavior, he took X-rays and found that both hands had the exact same incidence of arthritis.
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Cracking Down On Knuckles
You’ve all heard the story that cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis. Maybe your mom can’t stand that “popping” noise and that’s why she tells you knuckle cracking will damage your finger joints. Kidzworld did some digging around to find out what makes that “popping” noise and if it causes arthritis. Here’s what we found out.
Q: Does Cracking Your Knuckles Lead To Arthritis
A: Maybe you do it out of habit, or as a way to release tension. But if youre a regular at cracking your knuckles, youve probably heard that cracking your knuckles will enlarge them or cause arthritis in your joints. Is there any truth to this?
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Turns out, this is an old wives tale. Habitual knuckle-cracking wont cause osteoarthritis or joint enlargement.
Cracking your knuckles releases gas, in the form of nitrogen bubbles from the space around your joints. The sound is triggered as the bubbles are compressed. Researchers arent sure if the sound emitted from cracking your knuckles is that of gas bubbles being formed or released. But its just gas, nonetheless.
That said, the sound can make some people cringe. And a 1999 study found weaker hand grips and more hand swelling among knuckle-crackers.
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What Causes The Sound When You Crack Your Knuckles
Your joints are surrounded by a capsule, or sac. The capsule contains a liquid called synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant and prevents friction so the joints can move around smoothly. Synovial fluid contains gas bubbles.
When you crack your knuckles, you stretch the space between your finger joints, which causes the bubbles to burst and create that distinctive popping sound.
The reason you cant crack the same knuckle or joint twice in a row is because it takes some time for the gas bubbles to accumulate again in the joint.
When To See A Doctor
Cracking your knuckles doesnt cause harm, so it shouldnt be painful, cause swelling, or change the shape of the joint. These are signs that something is wrong, and you should be evaluated by your doctor.
Injuring your finger by pulling very forcefully or moving it in the wrong direction is usually very painful. Your finger may look crooked or start to swell. If this happens, you should see your doctor right away.
If you notice your joints are painful or swollen while cracking your knuckles, its likely due to an underlying condition and should be evaluated by your doctor.
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Joint Fluid And Gasses
Your finger joints contain a fluid called synovium. Inside this fluid there are also dissolved gasses of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. When a joint is briefly gapped there is a release of joint pressure and audible release of these gasses. This is synonymous with what happens with adjustments of the spine. Despite what you might have been told, the sound is not your joint being put back in to place.
So does cavitation cause arthritis?
Is Cracking Your Fingers Bad For You
January 11, 2019 By Crystal Vera
Many people crack their knuckles, toes, back, and especially their fingers. The snapping, popping sound can cause those within earshot to recoil.
Perhaps you have heard that cracking your fingers can lead to arthritis, or that your fingers will become permanently disfigured. Maybe you were told as a child that cracking your fingers would stunt their growth.
So when you hear someone cracking their fingers or knuckles, you may admonish the person for doing irreparable damage to their joints. But is cracking your fingers and other joints really all that bad? The answer may surprise you.
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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.
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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Possible Changes In The Hand
Research suggests people who often crack their knuckles may have:
- More swelling in their hands7
- A weaker grip7
- A slightly larger range of motion in their hands8,9while this seems like a good thing, hypermobility can put a joint at risk of osteoarthritis and other injuries
- Signs of cartilage changes in their knuckle joints that indicate possible scarring and a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis1
Like the research regarding knuckle cracking and arthritis, the research regarding these potential effects also sometimes conflicts. For example, the same study1 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.
Study Conclusions On Whether Knuckle Cracking Causes Arthritis
There have been a few studies over the years that considered whether or not cracking knuckles caused arthritis. One study found that there was no increase of hand arthritis among knuckle crackers, however, knuckle cracking was related to hand swelling and lower grip strength.
Another study indicated that while knuckle cracking was not associated with arthritis, it was associated with damage to ligaments that surround the joint and dislocation of tendons. While cracking your knuckles is not linked to causing arthritis, there may be a connection to soft tissue injuries.
A study from 2011 looked at 215 people who had a hand X-ray within the past five years. It’s interesting that 20% of them were habitual knuckle-crackers. The good news for those folks is that they were at no greater risk for hand osteoarthritis and it didn’t matter how long they had been knuckle-crackers or how often they did it each day.
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Question: If You Have Arthritis Can Cracking Knuckles / Joints Make It Worse
Answer: No. However theoretically knuckle cracking in patients with weak or damaged joints due to arthritis could potentially lead more easily to ligament injury or acute trauma to the joints.
Founded in 1998, the Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins is dedicated to providing quality education to patients and healthcare providers alike.
Question: What Causes Arthritis
Answer: There are different kinds of arthritis with the major categories being two: The inflammatory arthritides such as the rheumatoid arthritis and the degenerative arthritis best known as osteoarthritis or wear and tear arthritis. The causes for either are not well known and research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms leading to these diseases. In general a genetic predisposition is highly likely for both. For the inflammatory arthritis an unknown exposure to environmental stimuli is considered possible. For the wear and tear arthritis instead, aging and excessive mechanical stress may play a role in accelerating the damage in the joints as it happens in the knees of genetically predisposed older obese people.
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