General Question

occ's avatar

Is cracking my knuckles really bad for me?

Asked by occ (4080points) February 12th, 2007
I have been cracking my knuckles for 10 years. I have managed to quit every other addictive habit--no coffee, stopped biting my nails...but I can't stop cracking my knuckles. Does it really cause arthritis? Or any other problems? Or is that an urban myth? Why does it feel so good?
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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar
Nail biting, knuckle cracking, pulling out of eyebrows, minor and serious cutting, chewing on hair....all are tension relievers. I gave my kids worry beads to fiddle with and those little balls that you can keep in pockets and roll around. I have no real knowledge but can't imagine that cracking knuckles is a good thing. Often arthritis is caused by not only the inevitabe aging but repetitive activity. (Computer-related hand issues, for example.
gailcalled's avatar
One cup of coffee in AM probably will do you less hard than rollin' dem bones around.
gailcalled's avatar
And I could always tell when my children were tense by the nail-nibbling. The behavior that needed to change then was MINE!
gailcalled's avatar
Congrats, BTW, on new and beautiful nails. Whether you are a guy or girl, how about treating yourself to a pro manicure once in a while.
gailcalled's avatar
*harm....what happened to the "edit response" >
peggylou's avatar
I have bad arthritis in my hands and wrists. My knuckles are definitely enlarged from that. But I never cracked my knuckles. So while cracking your knuckles may cause arthritis, it certainly is not the only thing that does!
samkusnetz's avatar
according to multiple doctors who i have grilled on this topic, cracking your knuckles does NOT cause arthritis. some doctors say the sound comes from knocking loose deposits of minerals and other crap. others have said that its displacing build ups of air or other gas. i can't get a straight answer there, but everyone agrees that it's not bad for you. some people pull on their finger to crask their knuckles, and that IS bad, because it can overstretch your tendons and cause dislocations.
brownlemur's avatar
Cracking your knuckles is nothing more than the moving of synovial fluid from one side of the joint to the other. The "crack" that you hear is the air moving in to fill the space where the synovial fluid was. This does nothing detrimental to your body, so I say keep cracking!
gailcalled's avatar
What about the issue of annoying a partner or roommate? That sound would drive me mad...find another quieter hobby, I say.
samkusnetz's avatar
thank you brownlemur! that's been killing me.
asmonet's avatar

My mom swears it’s terrible and my doctor swears she’s silly.
I crack my knuckles and neck and elbows and wrists and ankles and…. But I’m terrified of it thanks to mi madre. Even though I know better.

In conclusion, I sound like microwave popcorn.

Arron92's avatar

To be honest it is bad for you, I’ve Been doing this since I was 9 and I’m now 17, 18 in august, well anyways.. I don’t remember the first ever time I did it and wouldn’t say it was extremely painfull, but I can say all this excessive “popping” cracking knuckles has indeed made my hand movements slower and my hands are all the more colder than usual, also sometimes I lf i put my fingers close to my ear and just move them slightly I can hear some sort of a grindig noise, I can clear up that my knuckles are no bigger than usua. I have alot of different effects of cracking knuckles, if anyone on this forum/thread has any concearns or just want to compare side effects then feel free to contact me on my email,, thankyou for reading and I hoped I helped some of you in any way possile.

Cruiser's avatar

Get bubble wrap and have a small roll at an arms reach and slowly twist it any time you get the urge to crack your knuckles. I did something similar where I quit smoking by having a blow-pop in my mouth if I felt that urge to puff come on.

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