LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

"Don't Crack Your Knuckles!" Real Time Video To Show What Happens To Your Knuckles When You Crack Them

Date June 21, 2018 14:31

A lot of people around the world love cracking their knuckles, and even more people think it’s actually bad for health. We were wondering who’s right. To answer the question, we need to understand the mechanism of cracking the knuckles and if there are any dangerous consequences of doing it.

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Two different theories

The very first studies on this topic have been done in the 1940s. The results suggested that the cracking noise occurs when two bones get stretched to a critical point. Researchers assumed the negative pressure resulting from this stretching could create a cavity within the joint. Furthermore, they also believed this could damage the joints and cause or worsen arthritis. However, years later, another study was conducted, which proposed a whole new, different theory. The scientists explained that cracking occurs due to the collapse of bubbles between the bones.

You might wonder what those bubbles are. There’s a special fluid called synovial that is present between your joints. Often, gas can accumulate in the form of bubbles down there. When you crack your knuckles, you release this gas by collapsing these bubbles. Do you think the cracking sound is the same as the popping sound?

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Emily frost / Shutterstock.com

Newest research answers the question

Researchers from the University of Alberta, Canada, had doubts regarding the theory of bubbles and with the help of new technologies, they found what exactly happens when someone’s cracking their joints. The scientists captured the process of cracking the knuckles using a real-time MRI scanner, and the results confirmed that joint cracking has nothing to do with bubbles and is related to cavity formation.

So is it safe to crack the joints?

People mostly prefer to crack their knuckles. They do it in a different manner. And the studies show that there’s no evidence this habit can lead to arthritis. Dr. Donald Unger was basically the only one researcher that devoted his life to solving this question. The man has spent 50 years cracking his knuckles at least twice a day on his left hand and not the right one. He did not develop arthritis in either hand. Moreover, there was no difference between them at all.

Another study, however, showed that regular cracking of your knuckles could increase the chances of inflammation in your joints and cause a weaker grip as the consequence.  

It is up to you who to believe. According to overall statistics, it is safe to crack your knuckles; yet, you might think twice before doing it if you have arthritis, as it can probably worsen the disease.

Source: EverydayHealth, MedicalNewsToday, PLOS One

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.