3 Does Knuckle Cracking Cause Arthritis?


Hello and welcome to the Muscle and Joint Podcast, I am your host Dr Malik.

What causes knuckles to crack and does this lead to arthritis? I am sure this question has  crossed your mind, especially if your a knuckle cracker.

First off, why do knuckles crack?

Knuckles are joints that are comprised of synovial fluid. This fluid is located between your joints to help reduce friction and allows your bones to move freely.

Within this synovial fluid gases build up over time. When the joint is stretched these bubbles collapse and pop. This is what causes the cracking sound when we pull our knuckles.

Now the question arises does knuckle cracking cause arthritis?

2009 IG Nobel Prize winner Dr Donald Unger proved this not to be the cause. The self-described researcher tested his theory by cracking the knuckles oh his left hand for over 60 years and found there was no difference in joint health between his two hands.

And this makes sense, as knuckle cracking is caused by the release of gases and does not cause harm to the joint surfaces.

It appears the only harm that can come from knuckle popping is by annoying the people around you!

Happy Cracking!

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