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Do You Crack Your Knuckles?

Cracking KnucklesAlthough studies have been made on knuckle cracking, there is no definitive answer on whether or not it is bad for your knuckles. A 1990 study indicates that people who crack their knuckles are more likely to experience hand swelling and a lighter grip. However, the study does not provide direct evidence correlating the two and is inconclusive. A more recent study was performed by a hand surgeon and a radiologist at UC Davis Medical Center which investigated the hands of people who crack their knuckles versus those who did not crack their knuckles. There was nothing to indicate that damage was done by cracking your knuckles, including swelling of the hands and waning of the grip. Actually, they determined that range of motion increased after the knuckles were cracked. Even though it appears to be good to crack your knuckles, the two doctors admitted that an even broader study could be made contradicting their findings.

What does happen when you crack your knuckles?

It is commonly believed that gas bubbles are released as the joint is extended. However, it is now believed that joint cracking is related to cavity formation as opposed to the popping of gas bubbles. One study collected real-time footage through the use of MRI. The results of the imaging tests showed that the sound was produced at the moment a cavity was created in the joint at the point of joint separation. The cavity remains visible even after the sound has been made.

Does knuckle cracking cause arthritis?

This is an old wives tale. It has been speculated that grandmothers, aunts, and mothers over time reacted to the noise with disdain. In order to discourage knuckle cracking, these women spun these tales. There is no evidence to substantiate these claims.

If you have chronic hand pain that is interfering with your daily activities, Louisiana Pain Specialists serves the Metro New Orleans area at five different locations: in Kenner at 231 West Esplanade Avenue, Suite B; in Metairie at 3434 Houma Boulevard, Suite 301; in New Orleans at 3439 Prytania Street, Suite 501; in New Orleans East at 5621 Read Boulevard; and in Marrero at 4520 Wichers Drive, Suite 205. While we participate in most insurance plans, our insurance specialist will confirm your coverage prior to attending your appointment.

To make an appointment to learn how our physicians can alleviate your chronic pain, call (504) 267-1185. An appointment is required at all 5 locations, so join us at a location near you!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.