Name: Renee Knuckles
Does cracking your joints especially the knuckles cause arthritis? What
are some of the results of doing so?
Cracking knuckles has NEVER been associated with causing arthritis.
This concept is as wrong as saying weight lifting makes you short, or
playing basketball makes you tall.
The "popping" of the knuckles results from forcing joint fluid to
very rapidly pass from one side of the joint to the other, where the
"sides" are partitioned off by the main bones of the joint. Let me
rephrase that: a joint is an area where two or more separate and distinct
bones meet. The joint fluid provides a cushioning between the joints
so that they don't grate into each other. Cracking your knuckles forces
the joint fluid from one part of the joint to another, and the popping
sound is just the result of the high pressured rushing of fluid.
Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by the loss of joint fluid from the
joint, but it results from damage to the linings of the joint itself.
It's tempting to claim that the high pressure flushing of fluid during
a knuckle "crack" can cause damage to the lining, but there simply is no
evidence to that effect. It was probably made up by some very sensitive
individuals who hate the "pop".
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Update: June 2012