Is cracking your knuckles harmful?

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If you've ever laced your fingers together, turned your palms away from you and bent your fingers back, you know what knuckle popping sounds like. Joints produce that CRACK when bubbles burst in the fluid surrounding the joint. Joints are the meeting points of two separate bones, held together and in place by connective tissues and ligaments. Many of the joints in our bodies are surrounded by synovial fluid, a thick, clear liquid. When you stretch or bend your finger to pop the knuckle, you are causing the bones of the joint to pull apart. As they do, the connective tissue capsule that surrounds the joint is stretched. By stretching this capsule, you increase its volume. And as we know from chemistry class, with an increase in volume comes a decrease in pressure. So as the pressure of the synovial fluid drops, gases dissolved in the fluid become less soluble, forming bubbles through a process called cavitation. When the joint is stretched far enough, the pressure in the capsule drops so low that these bubbles burst, producing the pop that we associate with knuckle cracking.

It takes about 25-30 minutes for the gas to redissolve into the joint fluid. During this period of time, your knuckles will not crack. Once the gas is redissolved, cavitation is once again possible, and you can start popping your knuckles again.

As for the harms associated with this habit, according to Anatomy and Physiology Instructors' Cooperative, only one in-depth study regarding the possible detriments of knuckle popping has been published. This study, done by Raymond Brodeur and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, examined 300 knuckle crackers for evidence of joint damage. The results revealed no apparent connection between joint cracking and arthritis; however, habitual knuckle poppers did show signs of other types of damage, including soft tissue damage to the joint capsule and a decrease in grip strength. This damage is most likely a result of the rapid, repeated stretching of the ligaments surrounding the joint. A professional baseball pitcher experiences similar, although obviously heightened, effects in the various joints of his pitching arm. But assuming you haven't signed a multimillion dollar contract to constantly pop your knuckles, it hardly seems worth the possible risk to your joints.

On the positive side, there is evidence of increased mobility in joints right after popping. When joints are manipulated, the Golgi tendon organs (a set of nerve endings involved in humans' motion sense) are stimulated and the muscles surrounding the joint are relaxed. This is part of the reason why people can feel "loose" and invigorated after leaving the chiropractor's office, where cavitation is induced as part of the treatment. Backs, knees, elbows and all other movable joints are subject to the same kind of manipulation as knuckles are.
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Does cracking knuckles make the knuckles bigger?

The following are some views from WikiAnswers contributors: . It doesnt make them bigger, and it doesn't harm them, its justthe air being removed from in between the joints. I don't know butI HAVE to crack my back and neck or I can't move sometimes. I didsuffer a lower back injury in 1993 when I fe (MORE)

Does cracking your knuckles make them fat?

Yes it can make them fat. And it will not cause arthitis unless your doing it every 15 mins of the day 24/7... But if you don't you could get loss of strenght in your hand and soft tissue damage.. All that's happening when you crack them is a realy thick liquid between your joints make a buble and o (MORE)

How can you stop cracking your knuckles?

Its difficult to get rid of the habit of cracking your knuckles but you have to think of the risks of arthritis and other problems that may occur. What i usually do is either keep my fingers away from each other or have one hand occupied by twirling my pencil, tapping the desk, or crossing my arms (MORE)

Why does cracking your knuckles make that noise?

What's really happening when you "crack" your knuckles: The noise you hear is actually the creating of small bubbles of nitrogen. This is an absolutely harmless thing to do despite all the "old wife's tales" to the contrary.

Why do knuckles crack?

Answer . Tiny bubbles of gas, which is made of nitrgen and oxigen build up in the joints. It is these you hear popping to make the cracking sound.

What happens when you crack your knuckles?

Answer: Your knuckle joints are moved, releasing small bubbles of Nitrogen which creates the small popping sounds. It is not dangerous to do this, but if practiced to the extreme, your fingers will not bend slightly. Also, your knuckles may expand... Answer: It is suggested that you wil (MORE)

What does cracking your knuckles do?

They want to seem tough so people would be scared, or they do it for fun or anger. ANSWER I heard it can make your knuckles look really ugly. This is bad if you want to be a hand model. ANSWER In fact, it does harm your knuckles. I'm the living proof. It doesn't hurt, but the joints I cr (MORE)

Is cracking your knuckles bad for you?

Cracking your knuckles is not bad for you. It is just bubbles in the fluid surrounding your knuckles, and then bursting the bubbles by moving your joints in a particular way. If it was bone against bone it would hurt you. (EDIT) Orthodontists checked 400 habitual knuckle-crackers, and came to the (MORE)

How I can crack my knuckles?

People have different ways of doing it. I have 3 ways i can do it. One is by simply pushing your fingers down towards the palm of your hand. Another way is by pushing them back into the knuckle, and bending the middle joint of your finger. (if that makes sense..) Another way is by cracking your fi (MORE)

Why do people crack their knuckles?

It can be a sign of nervousness to crack joints, usually the neck, when cracking your toes its usually means that you're bored and knuckles seem to be a somewhat universal sign for a preparation for action. It's not always a physical activity like a sport or beginning to play music, it can even be g (MORE)

Is it bad to crack your knuckles?

no not at all, adults just tell you that because they think it is a rude habit to start. All that's going on is that nitrogen bubbles are being popped in your knuckles.

Is cracking your knuckles harmful to your joints?

yes dummmy its called arthrites! Answer 2 In fact, it does harm your knuckles, but not arthritis. I'm the living proof. It doesn't hurt, but the joints I cracked are swollen. The XRay scans certainly didn't look pretty. Probably damaged ligaments said the doctor. In case you wonder: my general hea (MORE)

How do you crack knuckles?

To crack your knuckles you simply pull back your knuckles in a 45 degree angle and it has to be up to 45 or else you might hurt your hand.

What happens after you stop cracking your knuckles?

The risk of cracking one's knuckles (sliding joints under pressure)is that it can cause inflammation of the joints, or even cartilagedamage. In young people, this damage will usually be repaired in ashort period, but it could aggravate arthritis in older adults.

Crack your knuckles?

The popping or crackling noise heard when "cracking your knuckles" is caused by synovial fluid filling the vacuum left by the joint's displacement.

Can cracking your knuckles cause arthritus?

Cracking you knuckles does NOT cause arthritis. Although, depending on the severity and length of the habit, it can lead to other minor effects.It can even cause other serious nervous infection.

Can cracking your knuckles cause artheritus?

There is no scientifct prof of this, people belive this because when cracked the knuckes grow and get big. But this is just your nitrogen bubbles poping and then your fingers react and go swollen. Cracking you knuckles does no harm but it is still not a googd habbit to start.. I know this because m (MORE)

Why is cracking your knuckles politically incorrect?

The sound of knuckles being cracked is unpleasant to some people (like the sound of a finger nail being scraped across a chalk board), thus in polite company one would normally refrain from cracking your knuckles.

What happens when you crack your knuckle a lot?

The urban legend is that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. This not true. What happens is that when you hyper-extend a joint the synovial fluid (joint lubricant) decompresses and releases its dissolved gasses. The cracking sound comes from the gases rapidly being released from the fluid. (MORE)

How would you stop cracking your knuckles?

To stop clicking your knuckles, first you must distract yourself from your knuckles and whenever you are about to click, think about something else such as clicking your tongue for example... Wish you luck, Josh

Does cracking your knuckles give you double knuckles?

no it cracks because the bubble forms in a process called "cavitation." Once you've cracked your knuckle, it takes about 25-30 minutes for the gas to dissolve into the joint fluid. During this time, you can't crack the knuckle again. But once the gas is dissolved, cavitation is once again possible, (MORE)

Is cracking knuckles bad or good for you?

In the short term it hasn't effected anything. In the long term however there has been no real evidence. Scientists hypothesis that cavitation within the joint which is small cavities of partial vacuum form in the fluid and then rapidly collapse, producing a sharp sound, in other words its not actua (MORE)

What if you cracked your knuckles?

Cracking your knuckles does not make your knuckles bigger as a common myth says. It simply relieves the air pockets that can accumulate in the knuckles and "pops" the air bubble. The frequent cracking could possibly lead to arthritis in later age, so it is best to not crack your knuckles. infac (MORE)

Why is cracking knuckles gross?

Because it sounds like your breaking your fingers. the vision of that is gross, and when your older your fingers wont work aswell. =]

What are the advantages of knuckle cracking?

There are none really. "The common parental advice "cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis" is not supported by any evidence. A study concluded that there was no increased preponderance of arthritis of the hand in either group; however, habitual knuckle crackers were more likely to have hand s (MORE)

How does cracking your knuckles affect you bones?

Well, if you do it enough, there is a possibility of getting arthritis when you are older. WRONG. This statement above is a common myth. Cracking your knuckles has no side affects other than knocking your bones back in place. If done enough it will wear down the cartilage, but not enough to cau (MORE)

Why can you not crack my knuckles?

Your bones are still flexible and you don't need to do that. There is NO evidence that it gives you arthritis in the future, but there are a lot of myths attached to this behavior.

How do you crack your knuckles?

first put your hands to where your fingers are crossing each other then push your palms down but keep your arm where it was. if this did not help then it means that your one of the people who will never be able to crack there knuckles or you are doing it wrong.

Is cracking your toe knuckles harmful?

I know cracking knuckles leads to fat knuckles when older. So cracking toe knuckles can be harmful. Their only good when you crack them while stretching, not for fun

Will you get bone cancer if you crack your knuckles?

No, you wouldn't get a bone cancer if you crack your knuckles. The type of joint in the knuckles are saddle joints which do lock up periodically and can be unlocked by "cracking" your knuckles. There is NO evidence that doing this periodically, unless it becomes an obsessive-compulsive behavior is i (MORE)

Is it good to be constantly cracking your knuckles?

Most people say cracking knuckles leads to arthritis. It doesn't! I wouldn't recommend cracking your fingers all the time, and I personally don't like cracking fingers in the cold. You can, if you want to, but it hurts. I think the weather of the cold air affects the finger joints which make them st (MORE)