Health

Does Cracking Your Knuckles Give You Arthritis?

Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on our sister site Livestly.com.

It’s hard to remember when I first heard, “Don’t crack your knuckles; you’ll get arthritis!” But every time I crack my knuckles, I feel guilty. The familiar cracking sound and the feeling of release in your fingers are so satisfying, even if not everyone enjoys hearing it. This habit doesn’t seem inconceivable, just as eating lots of candy isn’t particularly good for you. Still, is cracking your knuckles causing arthritis based on science? Here’s what the doctors said.

What Happens When Cracking Knuckles?

Healthy movement and cartilage protection are provided by synovial fluid. According to Dr. Jason Liebowitz, a rheumatology specialist in Rockaway, New Jersey, cracking knuckles is caused by nitrogen bubbles in synovial fluid. You create negative pressure when you crack your knuckles, causing bubbles in the fluid to form.

Source: canva.com

Does It Cause Arthritis?

According to Liebowitz, ‘cracking knuckles’ does not seem to cause arthritis and is not harmful. Despite the medical community’s confidence, there’s less certainty about what caused the myth.

What About Other Health Issues?

The tendons that attach muscle to bones can be damaged by cracking knuckles, but there is no evidence that cracking knuckles causes arthritis. The practice of “overly vigorous knuckle-cracking” has “occasionally” led to injuries, but these are extreme cases. Psychological aspects of the habit may be the genuine concern.

Source: canva.com

What Causes Arthritis?

A question remains: what causes arthritis, if not knuckle-cracking? The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, Liebowitz said. Osteoarthritis is a complex condition characterized by narrowing the joint space caused by cartilage loss (such as articular cartilage lining the joints). This causes aches and pains, significantly when the weather changes.

Its causes may include autoimmune diseases, joint crystals deposition, infections, medications, or hereditary mutations. An arthritis diagnosis can be influenced by genetics, environment, or activity.