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Cracking Knuckles: Is it Good or Bad to Crack Your Knuckles?

Cracking the Knuckle is a habit which is prevalent in almost everybody. It is no more a rarity when we see someone cracking knuckles. It is seen a mode to get relaxed and get rid of any nervousness that may be present.

Occasional cracking of knuckles is not a cause of worry but people who have a habit of cracking their knuckles may injure the fingers and also cause some harm to the ligaments and tendons of the fingers.

Cracking Knuckles: Is it Good or Bad to Crack Your Knuckles?

About Cracking Knuckles

To understand what causes the cracking sound when the knuckles are pressed or elongated we need to understand something about a fluid called synovial fluid and synovial membrane. The synovial fluid is present in every joint and acts as a lubricant and shock absorber and prevents the bones of the joints from rubbing against each other resulting in degeneration. This synovial fluid is present inside a membrane which is present in the end of every bone called synovial membrane.

A cracking sound when we elongate or move the knuckles in a certain way comes when the space between the bones gets expanded due to the movement which results in a gap being created between the bones where synovial fluid rushes in to fill the gap.1 The movement of the synovial fluid in this gap is what that produces cracking sound.

There have been certain other causes given for “Cracking Knuckle” when they are moved. These causes are:

  • The cracking sound from knuckle occurs when the joints are moved apart from each other creating a gap where synovial fluid forms a bubble. This bubble when it collapses or bursts causes the cracking sound.
  • Another cause for knuckle cracking is believed to be over stretching of ligaments that surround the synovial membrane which produce the cracking sound.

Cracking Knuckles: Is it Good or Bad to Crack Your Knuckles?

When we go about asking the opinion of people whether cracking knuckles is good or bad then the results that come are mixed. While some people who are habitual knuckle crackers do not find this to be bad or injurious, some people believe that this habit can lead to early degeneration of the joints causing arthritis.

Experts however believe that if knuckle cracking does not cause any pain then it can be considered as safe.2 They also suggest that arthritis is in no way connected to cracking of joints including the knuckles. There have been studies conducted and they conclude that there is no sufficient evidence to suggest that people who have a habit of knuckle cracking are at increased risk for arthritis than people who do not have this habit.

However, when cracking knuckles produces pain then it becomes a separate entity. People with weak and fragile bones may end up having unstable joints in the fingers if they continue cracking their knuckles despite pain. In some cases, it may also lead to decreased hand function and reduced grip strength as a result of frequently cracking knuckle.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 10, 2019

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