Can cracking your knuckles cause arthritis?
Some people still believe that cracking or “popping” your knuckles may worsen joint condition and even cause arthritis when you get older. But according to the new research cracking ones knuckles didn’t prove to be a risk factor for any kind of bones or joints disease.
Nearly 50 million adult Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis – that’s the ratio of almost 1 to 5. It’s hard to believe that some significant part of them was cracking their knuckles, though.
Osteoarthritis means that cartilage within your joints wears off progressively, as well as natural lube called synovial fluid also being reduced.
When this happens your bones start to rub onto each other, causing pain and joint stiffness. If you don’t take any measures the state of your joints can become even worse, up until you are not able to perform basic daily activities.
However, the authors of the study made a conclusion that knuckle-cracking on a daily basis over long period of few years has not shown any correlation with osteoarthritis in any joint, therefore total exposure to knuckle-cracking doesn’t seem to be a risk factor for osteoarthritis.
Actually, there was rather funny episode that only supports this theory. For over 60 years Donald L. Unger has been systematically cracking the knuckles on his left hand and leaving his right knuckles free, just to prove his mother that she was wrong and constant knuckle-cracking doesn’t cause arthritis. For this achievement he even won himself Ig Nobel Award in Medicine.
So if this “risk factor” is out of the question, what is the real threat for your joints and can really cause osteoarthritis? Just remember, that several bad lifestyle factors and conditions, such as smoking, obesity and diabetes deserve far more attention from your part, than innocent knuckle cracking. Having that in mind, however, it’s better to get rid of this annoying habit that usually drives people around you crazy.