Could Cracking Your Knuckles Be Bad For Your Health?

Are you one of the many people who mindlessly cracks your knuckles?  Like opening a can of soda or popping a plastic bubble on one of those addictive bubble wrap sheets, cracking your knuckles can be an appealing habit.  Many of us are guilty knucklesof this action without even knowing it, but there is a better way to stretch out your hands without risking the health of your joints.  This simple and mundane habit could cause health problems down the road.  You may have heard some unsolicited advice about never cracking your knuckles because it can cause arthritis.  While there is no scientific evidence that claims cracking your knuckles may lead to arthritis, but this bad habit could actually affect joint function in the future.

While cracking your knuckles may feel good and relaxing, it can lead to instability in the joints.  A joint is where two or more bones meet together.  A joint capsule surrounds the joints and is filled with a natural lubricant called synovial fluid.  This lubricant helps joints move smoothly.  So when you crack your knuckles, you are forcing gas to be dissolved in the synovial fluid, thus causing the popping sound.  It takes a half an hour for oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide to dissolve in the synovial fluid; this is why you can’t usually crack your knuckle twice in a row.

It may feel good because cracking your knuckles entails stretching out your joints and muscles, but this habit is not the healthiest; and while there is no proof that it will lead to arthritis, you should try to limit your knuckle cracking because it could cause joint disfunction in the long run.

Hand therapist, John Indalecio explains that cracking your knuckles over and over again could affect the function of your joints.  So if you are a habitual knuckle-cracker, you may want to try to kick the habit.

If your joints are feeling stiff or feel like they need to be cracked, that means that it’s time to visit your chiropractor.  A chiropractor can adjust nearly any joint in the body, and that nagging stiff feeling may be alleviated.  Just like you shouldn’t let an untrained person crack your back, you should probably avoid cracking any other body part too.  The good news is that your chiropractor is skilled and has performed thousands of adjustments, so they know how to provide you with the relief you need.

The bottom line is that you should leave your knuckles alone.  Stretch out your hands and fingers when you can without cracking them.  Not only will you be helping to prevent future joint problems but you may also be promoting healthier bones and joints.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.


This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.