What Happens When You Crack Your Knuckles Too Much?

what happens when you crack your knuckles

Most of you enjoy cracking your knuckles as it gives a kind of pleasure. But, have you ever thought what its consequences could be? It is considered that this bad habit can result in arthritis, weak grip, and inflammation. Read further to know what happens when you crack your knuckles.

What is Knuckle Cracking?

Knuckle cracking is the act of pulling bones apart to release air bubbles in the joints which produces a pop sound and also gives a feeling of relaxation to the person.

Why Do So Many People Enjoy Cracking Their Knuckles?

According to experts, knuckle cracking is a nervous habit and it can give a sense of relief and relaxation. People do it to seek relief from tension. Prevalence of this habit is more in men than women. According to estimations, between 25% and 54% of the people are habitual to knuckle cracking.

What Happens When You Crack Your Knuckles:

1. Arthritis:

  • According to studies, there is no relation between knuckle cracking and arthritis.
  • In 1998, Dr. Donald Unger researched knuckle cracking on his own hands. He cracked the knuckles of his left hand at least two times a day for 50 years.
  • He estimated that his left hand’s knuckles were cracked at least 36,500 times. He concluded that after 50 years, neither of the hands developed arthritis and there were no differences between the two hands.
  • The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences performed a study on a group of 215 people, 20% of whom cracked their knuckles regularly.
  • Results showed 18.1 % of the knuckle crackers and 21.5 % of the non-knuckle crackers had arthritis in their hands.
  • The researchers concluded that the chance of having arthritis is about the same whether you crack your knuckles or not.

2. Inflammation:

  • In 1990, a study was performed on a group of 300 people over the age of 45 years. Out of 300, 74 cracked their knuckles, while 226 did not.
  • The study showed that those who cracked their knuckles had a higher rate of inflammation on their hands and lower grip strength, while rates of arthritis were similar in both groups.
  • The study concluded that knuckle cracking leads to functional hand impairment.

3. Weak Grip:

  • Researchers have found that cracking your knuckles can lead to weak grip and instability in the joints.
  • According to scientists, cracking your knuckles for many years can damage the cartilage that protects the joint.
  • It can also cause other damage such as ligament tears, thumb injuries, and finger sprains, etc.

There is no risk of arthritis if you like to crack your knuckles, but it can lead to weaker grip and inflammation. So, to maintain a healthy body, it is better to leave this bad habit. If you are not able to get rid of it, talk to your doctor about the behavioral therapy.

You Might Also Like:

Image:- 1

Was this article helpful?