Saturday, April 13, 2024

Does Cracking Your Knuckles Lead To Arthritis?

There are a lot of people in the world who crack their knuckles and most of them have heard that it’s a really bad habit. Myths regarding knuckle cracking claim that it may deform your fingers and lead to arthritis. But is this fact or friction, er, fiction?

Dr. Donald Unger has been studying knuckles for over 50 years, cracking the knuckles of his left hand twice a day and leaving the ones on his right hand uncracked. In 1998, he published his findings in a medical journal and concluded that there’s not a substantial relationship between cracking your knuckles and developing arthritis (If you think this is silly, brace yourself, because he won an Ig Nobel Prize for this discovery.)

While the study didn’t include other test subjects and is highly subjective, a lot of people still wonder why knuckle cracking has such a bad rep and have conducted studies involving more test subjects.

In 2010, a study was published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, surveying the hands of over 200 people. Twenty-percent claimed to crack their knuckles regularly and showed no difference from other participants. The study concluded that these subjects were not more likely to have arthritis when compared to the others.

According to Popular Science, the main reason why people believe that knuckle-cracking leads to arthritis is due to the sound your fingers make when you crack them. “Knuckle cracking is really annoying to the people who are not doing it. The people who are annoyed want it to stop, so they come up with a story that will dissuade the knuckle-cracker,” says doctor Kevin DeWeber, a sports and family medicine physician, who says he’s been cracking his knuckles his whole life.

So, now you know. Cracking your knuckles may really annoy your friends and worry your mom, but it’s a relatively safe activity. You no longer have to listen to their made up excuses.


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