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Does Cracking Knuckles Cause Arthritis

Updated on October 20, 2011

Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis - An old Wife's Tale ?

Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis ? Well, the simple answer is no, despite what your mum probably told you when you were younger. Unfortunately this literally is an old wife’s tale which has been investigated by scientists and proved to be incorrect.

What actually happens when you crack your knuckles is that gases within the fluid that surrounds your knuckles are released and this is what causes the actual noise that you hear when you crack your knuckles.

Despite this being a myth however, there is no doubt that arthritis is a very painful affliction and although it does tend to occur in people approaching old age, it can in fact strike at any time of life. Sometimes an injury or even a virus can trigger it, so it really is not cracking your knuckles that will cause it.

Causes of the onset of Arthritis

There are three key main causes behind the onset of arthritis and these are:

This is caused by a build up of uric acid in the blood and can be helped with a low protein diet. However for many, kidney problems are behind this and a low protein diet is unlikely to be enough

This is usually caused by wear and tear of your joints. A good way to help to avoid this it to keep your weight at a reasonable level to avoid putting excess stress on your joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Sadly, this is virtually impossible to avoid and is an auto immune disorder where the defense mechanisms of your body attack the joints thinking that they are ‘invading’ you.

Do as your Mum tells you!

However, a word of warning, whilst cracking your knuckles will not cause arthritis, it can actually lead to a few problems and indeed, whilst looking into the question of whether cracking knuckles causes arthritis, it was discovered that doing this can in fact lead to swelling around the area and even a decrease in the strength of a person’s grip.

Ligament damage can also occur which can eventually cause the tendons in your hand to become dislocated and can even lead to soft tissue damage in the hand.

So the answer to Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis in hands, the answer is no but the advice that your Mum gave you will probably do a lot more good than hard .. if you listen to it of course!


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    • andyoz profile image

      Andrew Orrell 6 years ago from UK

      My gf cracks her knuckles all the time, I keep telling her off. Maybe I should just leave her to it. An interesting read.