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.
What To Do If You Have Arthritis
Deal recommends you stay active and maintain a healthy diet and weight to manage arthritis. At home, enjoy a paraffin bath. The warm wax limbers the tissues and allows mobility in the joints.
Use medical intervention when needed, Deal advises.
You can manage arthritis pain with physical or hand therapy, finger splints and by modifying your activity. Medication options include cortisone shots or anti-inflammatory medications.
If needed, surgery can help. Depending on where you have arthritis, knuckle replacements or joint fusions can successfully relieve symptoms. Surgery even prevents the treated area from developing arthritis again.
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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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What The Research Says About Knuckle Cracking
Several studies have been done to determine if knuckle cracking is associated with arthritis. To date, no link has been found.
In one report, researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences examined a group of 215 people. Twenty percent of them said they cracked their knuckles regularly.
Results showed 18.1 percent of those participants who cracked their knuckles and 21.5 percent of those who didnt had arthritis in their hands. The investigators concluded that the chance of having arthritis was about the same in both groups.
In 1998, Dr. Donald Unger performed an informal study that was published as a letter to the editor in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. As part of his experiment, the doctor cracked the knuckles on his left hand at least twice a day for 50 years, while leaving the knuckles on his right hand alone to serve as a control.
Dr. Unger estimated that the knuckles on his left hand were cracked at least 36,500 times. In his letter, he concluded that after 50 years, neither of his hands showed symptoms of arthritis, and there were no differences between the two hands.
The results of a study published in 2017 agreed with Dr. Ungers conclusions. Researchers found knuckle crackers had the same level of physical function as those who didnt crack their knuckles.
While research overwhelming suggests that knuckle cracking doesnt lead to arthritis, the following can increase your risk of developing the condition:
- a previous joint injury
Question: What Causes The Sound
Answer: Joints are covered by a capsule . Within the space of this capsule the synovial fluid is contained which acts as a lubricant and also contains nutrients for the adjacent bone surfaces. A variety of gases are continuously dissolved in this fluid. When one cracks a knuckle, the stretching of the capsule lowers the pressure inside the joint and creates a vacuum which is filled by the gas previously dissolved in the synovial fluid. This creates a bubble which then bursts producing the characteristic popping or cracking sound. It takes a while until these gases are re-dissolved in the synovial fluid which explains why knuckles cannot be re-cracked immediately.
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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.
Possible Changes In The Hand
Research suggests people who often crack their knuckles may have:
- More swelling in their hands7
- 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.
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The Truth And The Myth Behind The Cracking Knuckles Debate
Cracking your knuckles may aggravate the people around you, but it probably won’t raise your risk for arthritis. That’s the conclusion of several studies that compared rates of hand arthritis among habitual knuckle-crackers and people who didn’t crack their knuckles.
The “pop” of a cracked knuckle is caused by bubbles bursting in the synovial fluid the fluid that helps lubricate joints. The bubbles pop when you pull the bones apart, either by stretching the fingers or bending them backward, creating negative pressure. One study’s authors compared the sudden, vibratory energy produced during knuckle cracking to “the forces responsible for the destruction of hydraulic blades and ship propellers.”
Even if doesn’t cause arthritis, there’s still good reason to let go of the habit. Chronic knuckle-cracking may lead to reduced grip strength. And there are at least two published reports of injuries suffered while people were trying to crack their knuckles.
For more information on keeping your hand healthy, nimble, and strong, buy , a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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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Orthopedic Care In Bishop Ca
At Northern Inyo Healthcare District, our team of orthopedists take a holistic approach to care, focusing on you as a whole person rather than specific symptoms or conditions. Whether youre suffering from aches and pains or mobility issues, were here to help improve your quality of life.
For more information about the orthopedic services at Northern Inyo Healthcare District or to schedule an appointment, call 873-2605.
The Bottom Line: Does Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis
Multiple studies have indicated that there is noevidence to suggest cracking knuckles causes or worsens arthritis.2,3 However, chronic knuckle cracking maylead to reduced grip strength, and there have been occasional reports of tendoninjuries and dislocations.4
Although patients who crack their knuckles are not at greater risk for osteoarthritis, its important that they pay attention to pain in their joints. If knuckle cracking proves painful, there could be an abnormality in the structure of the joint.
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Can You Get Arthritis From Cracking Your Knuckles
How often do you crack your knuckles? It is true that almost all of us love cracking knuckles at times in our life, and it also feels good and relaxed sometimes. However, there are also some people who are in to a habitual cracking of knuckles. Though rare cracking of knuckles may not cause any serious issues, however those who are habitual to cracking knuckles have something real to worry about. This current article will talk about cracking knuckles where we will talk about the causes of the cracking sound while cracking our knuckles, effects and also know about some ways to stop cracking knuckles.
Cracking Your Back Neck And Other Areas
If you regularly crack your neck or your back, this is where you may actually be doing some harm to yourself. As mentioned earlier, if youre experiencing cracking or popping in these areas naturally, then you have nothing to worry about.
But if youre intentionally cracking these parts of your body because you feel pain or stiffness and youre looking for some quick relief, you might want to reconsider. Cracking your neck too aggressively puts you at risk for overstretching your ligaments or misaligning certain bones in your back.
If you struggle with back pain regularly, your best bet is to seek professional help from your doctor. Even doing yoga or other gentle stretches can help with this discomfort, and youll be making more permanent gains than if you just give it a quick crack.
So now you know a little bit more about the nature of cracking your joints. But if youre suffering from joint pain, the knowledge alone might not give you the relief youre looking for.
To help get you started on your path to better joint health, here are a few tips you should keep in mind when thinking about your joints:
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Causes Of Arthritis In The Hands
Arthritic conditions can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness in the small joints of the hands and fingers.
Inflammatory arthritis conditions, like RA, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis cause inflammation. Symptoms of inflammation include redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. In general, OA is degenerative, rather than inflammatory.
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Cracking Down On Knuckles
Youve all heard the story that cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis. Maybe your mom cant stand that popping noise and thats 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. Heres what we found out.
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Does Popping Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis
There are a number of reasons why people crack their knuckles. For some people it relieves pain, for some theyve irritated the joint and it relieves pressure, and for others its just constant habit. So is the myth that popping your knuckles causes arthritis true?
First we must understand what the actual pop is in our knuckles.
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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When To Tell Your Doctor About Joint Popping
If you are experiencing joint popping, even if it seems excess, it is only a problem if you are feeling pain as a result. Painful joint popping can be a symptom of early stage arthritis, tendinitis, or bursitis. Arthritis is, of course, characterized by inflammation of a joint, which can cause painful popping as the bones of the joint begin to rub together. Note that, again, this is not caused by knuckle cracking, and has nothing to do with the buildup of gas in the joint. However, the two in tandem can lead to pain and discomfort. Tendinitis is an inflammation of a tendon, which can cause the joint to move in awkward ways, thus causing the joint to pop. Bursitis is the more likely case, though the pain it causes should be nearly ever present. Bursitis is caused by inflammation of the bursa, which helps to lubricate joints. When the bursitis is injured, joints are more likely to rub together, thus causing popping, creaking, cracking, and pain.
The bottom line is this: joint popping is not a problem in the long term, unless its a problem in the short term. If you arent experiencing pain, you can crack your knuckles all day long the worst you have to fear is weird looks from your friends.
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.
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When To Seek Medical Help
Although a popping joint can be startling, it is not usually caused by a serious problem, and there is generally nothing that needs to be done . In some cases, popping can occur as part of a degenerative disorder that makes the joint susceptible to changes that produce these and other sounds.
Unless it is accompanied by more concerning symptoms such as pain and swelling, you should not worry. However, cracking noises, which often sound like popping, can be a sign of problems that need treatment, like gout, inflammation, and joint dislocation.
Does Cracking Your Back Or Knuckles Cause Arthritis Is It Bad
March 15, 2017Gary Tho
Your mum or dad might have fed you this myth because they were told it. Maybe they know its bad to crack your own neck or back but just dont know why. Or maybe they were worried your fingers are going to get too loose and fall off. The popping noise you hear isnt bone cracking or rubbing on bone. Its the creation of small gas bubbles in the joint. And although studies show theres no link between the cracking your joints and the stiff, painful joints that arthritis cause, we shouldnt indulge in our addiction anyway. Cracking your fingers, neck or back 5, 10 or 20 times a day, EVERY DAY could make your supporting ligaments lax. Thats a recipe for trouble.
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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Is Cracking Your Knuckles Bad For You
The short answer? Probably not. Theres no evidence that shows knuckle-cracking is particularly harmful or beneficial for you. That said, one study published in 1990 compared people who habitually popped their knuckles and those who did not. Researchers found that people who cracked their knuckles regularly experienced more hand swelling and had lower grip strength than people who didnt crack their knuckles at all.
While the study did correlate negative side effects with regular knuckle popping, it also confirmed there was no difference in the incidence of arthritis between the two groups.
A much later study, conducted in 2017, called the results of the 1990 study into question, though. The 2017 study found that habitual knuckle-popping had no long-term side effects on hand swelling, grip strength, joint laxity, or joint range of motion.
Another study conducted by a California physician set out to determine whether regular knuckle-cracking would be detrimental over the long term. To gather evidence, he performed an experiment on himself, cracking the knuckles of his left hand at least twice a day over a period of 50 years. During that time, he rarely cracked the knuckles of his right hand.
At the end of the 50-year period, the doctor compared his hands to see if the left hand had suffered any negative side effects caused by knuckle-cracking. Both a visual exam and X-rays showed no difference between his left and right hand.