There is an old wives’ tale that stops people from cracking knuckles with the threat of oncoming arthritis. But it was probably invented by someone who was so irritated with people cracking their knuckles all around him that he wanted to make them all stop. After all, so many people crack their knuckles so commonly. If it truly caused arthritis, there would have been some study somewhere that established the link. But we have none.
There have been some studies that have tried to examine this link, though. Most notable is the ground breaking work published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism in 1998 by Donald Unge. Unge spent 50 years cracking the knuckles of his left hand, leaving his right hand as a control.
‘The knuckles on the left were cracked at least 36,500 times, while those on the right cracked rarely and spontaneously,’ Unge said in his publication.
After five decades, Unge said, ‘There was no arthritis in either hand, and no apparent differences between the two hands.’
In a 1990 study, it was found that cracking of the knuckles could lead to lower grip strength and hand swelling, but no reliable connection with arthritis was found. In a more recent study, researchers asked 329 participants – aged between 50 and 89 years – to fill out a questionnaire about their right hands. This study also found no link to arthritis.
It did leave researchers wondering, though, why people cracked their knuckles. Do we like the sound? Or do we just like the stretch and the pop?
Who knows? The good news is that it’s not harmful. So go ahead and do it. Just don’t annoy people around you.

Gaurav Malhotra

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *