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Love a good knuckle cracking? Get the truth about how this affects your body.


July 17, 2019

Knuckle cracking can be one of the most gratifying experiences, and many do it as stress relief and even to help with sore joints. But is cracking your knuckles really good for you? There’s always been a debate on whether cracking your knuckles is truly good for you, or if there is any damage that might occur as a side effect. While you knuckles might feel “loose” after, the question remains...is cracking your knuckles going to cause long-term damage? Your Wisconsin therapist is here to help.

What does knuckle cracking really do?
In basics, cracking any joint is really just bending the joint until it makes a popping sound. While you might feel that your joints are “loose,” there is no medical evidence that cracking your joints actually help to relieve any pain or pressure. There is a possibility that it is a placebo effect - so keep that in mind!

Are their side effects to cracking your knuckles?
Whew, this one is a hard one to explain. For decades the theory has been that popping your knuckles can ultimately lead to arthritis, but honestly there isn’t any research to support this. We feel confident in saying that overall it is unlikely that knuckle cracking is related to arthritis. 

However, you should not just be worried about artritis. Be careful when popping your knuckles/fingers. If you crack your knuckles, or fingers, by pulling on them it is possible to pull your finger right out of its joint! This would certainly be an unpleasant experience,  but it’s also possible to damage ligaments doing this. So be careful. In addition, cracking knuckles can cause inflammation and weaken your grip over time. While it’s not as bad as arthritis, it can be uncomfortable and cause issues. 

How to maintain healthy joints
If you are looking to keep your joints healthy, there are a few things you can do. While you don’t have to stop cracking your knuckles...why risk inflammation and possibly weaken your grip. The biggest thing you can do for your joints is to maintain a healthy body weight, stay healthy through exercise, and continue to eat healthy and watch your nutrition.

Everyone’s body is different, so when it comes to your care be sure to stay in close contact with your doctor as well as your physical therapist. If you realize you might be encountering some unpleasant wrist or hand pain, contact us. At North Platte Physical Therapy, we are here to help meet your needs. We serve the communities of Wyoming and Nebraska with 22 clinics offering a full range of physical therapy services. Contact us today for more information.