The truth about cracking your knuckles: is it actually hurting you?

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Have you ever felt the urge to crack or pop your knuckles? The action is one that gets replicated in movies and TV all the time, and many children pick up the habit from an early age, but how safe is the habit? For many children, parents will instantly tell them not to crack their knuckles because it’s bad for you, and those parents only think that because they were told it by their own parents.

The cycle continues until someone actually learns the truth.

Most opponents of the habit will claim that it can lead to arthritis, and that it causes knuckles to swell. Some will even claim that it causes harm to the bones and ligaments themselves. Surprisingly, for a long time, the health community was at odds about the habit, but now a solid conclusion has been reached after years of study.

Part of getting older is noticing that your body no longer performs at the level it once did. Muscles cramp easier, joints ache, and you’ll notice light pops with just about every motion. You might be alarmed at these sounds, but if you crack your knuckles, you’re totally used to it.

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To understand if the habit is bad or good, you need to know what happens when you pop a joint. Joints are junctions where two bones meet with a connection of cartilage. Joints must be able to move, so there is a slight amount of empty space within the junction.

Popping a knuckle is the act of pulling the joint so the empty space is increased, which reduces pressure within the junction.

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The sound associated with a popping joint is a small release of gas that is able to escape the fluid of the joint when the pressure drops. The sound isn’t actually produced by any physical action in your joint. This is why so many people enjoy cracking their knuckles. It literally acts as a way to stretch your joints.

This means that cracking your knuckles is in no way bad for your physical health.

There is also no proof that cracking your knuckles leads to greater levels of arthritis. The negative stigmas associated with cracking your knuckles are most likely the result of improper education. They can also stem from parents who tell their children that knuckle popping is bad simply because those parents don’t like the sound.

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If you or someone you know likes to crack their knuckles, but they don’t like the level of scrutiny they get from others over the habit, this knowledge should be able to help them with a retort.

Let others know about your situation or describe how this knowledge has helped you so others can emulate your path! And make sure you pass this article to your knuckle-cracking friends 🙂

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