Knuckle cracking is a popular pastime among many people. It can become a habit or a strategy to deal with nervous energy; some refer to it as a method of “releasing stress.” For some, it’s merely an annoyance that others do.
If you’ve ever wondered why certain finger movements make that recognisable noise, or whether knuckle cracking is damaging in any way, keep reading. Regardless of how widespread it is, there has been substantial discussion about where the noise originates.
Interesting Things About Knuckle Cracking
- The “cracking” of knuckle cracking appears to be caused by expanding the space between finger joints. Gas bubbles in the joint fluid collapse or explode as a result. It’s similar to blowing up a balloon and then extending the walls outward till the balloon pops.
- The reason you can’t fracture the same knuckle or joint twice in a row is that it takes time for the gas bubbles to re-accumulate in the joint.
- Cracking your knuckles is generally not harmful. Although there have been isolated cases of dislocations or tendon injuries caused by excessive knuckle cracking, such incidents appear to be the exception rather than the rule.
Is Knuckle Cracking Dangerous for Health?
One of the most convincing pieces of data demonstrating that knuckle cracking is safe comes from a California physician who reported on a self-experiment. Throughout his life, he cracked the knuckles of only one hand. After decades of this habit, he examined himself with x-rays and discovered no difference in arthritis between his hands. A larger study reached the same finding.
There have been a few medical reports of issues associated with this habit, which may be related to the amount of force used and the technique used. Joint dislocations and tendon injuries, for example, have been reported as a result of knuckle cracking attempts. One study published in 1990 discovered that 74 people who cracked their knuckles on a regular basis had poorer average grip strength and more instances of hand swelling than 226 people who did not crack their knuckles. The incidence of arthritis, however, was the same in both groups.
Another study developed a mathematical model of a knuckle, which helped prove that the noise is caused by bursting gas bubbles.
Finally, Knuckle Cracking is not dangerous for any health problems.