Chances are that you’ve known a few people who periodically crack their knuckles out of habit or as a way to release nervous energy. Or perhaps you’re a knuckle-cracker yourself! The sound of joints popping may be annoying to hear, but is cracking knuckles actually harmful to a person’s health?
This article explores the potential risks of cracking your knuckles and when it can become problematic.
What Causes the Cracking Noise?
The familiar sound of a joint cracking is often caused when nitrogen gas is pulled into a joint and creates negative pressure. Tendons snapping over tissues as they adjust during their paths of movement can cause the sound as well. People may notice more joint popping as they get older or become more active after a period of being sedentary.
Is Knuckle Cracking Bad?
Research observations and medical studies have not been able to link the cracking of joints to any real or immediate harm. This is good news if you’re a chronic knuckle-cracker who isn’t interested in changing your habits anytime soon. It was once a common misconception that knuckle cracking led to arthritis, but the science simply isn’t there to prove this myth to be accurate.
Therefore, the main harm in cracking your knuckles is just social annoyance. This habit alone is not likely to cause reduced grip strength or finger swelling, however.
Concerns About Knuckle Cracking
However, cracking your knuckles should never be painful or result in other symptoms. If you feel pain when you crack your knuckles or any other joint, this could be a sign of loose cartilage or a ligament that is injured. Joint issues can often be addressed by homeopathic remedies, such as Seagate’s Shark Cartilage. Unexplained, long-lasting, or severe joint pain may warrant a trip to a trusted healthcare professional to diagnose what is causing an increase in popping or other symptoms.
How to Stop Cracking Your Knuckles
Knuckle cracking can be a hard habit to break, especially if you’ve done it for many years. If you’re interested in stopping, it helps to keep you hands busy with something else, such as a stress ball, worry stone, or fidget spinner. You can also rub lotion in your hands when you feel the urge to crack your knuckles as a way of giving your hands something else to do instead.
Take notice of the moments when you find yourself cracking your knuckles and what is going on mentally at that time. If any triggers or patterns come to mind, jot those things down in a journal so that you can work through those issues in more positive ways. Deep breathing exercises and meditation have helped many people break common habits, such as cracking their knuckles.