Knuckle Cracking

Natchya Tewari

We often find our knuckle cracking. Dr. Donald Unger studied this cracking and found in his research that knuckle cracking doesn’t cause any disease even arthritis.

He cracked his left hand twice a day for 50 years total at least 36,500 times. Finally, Unger analyzed his data set and concluded: There was no arthritis in either hand, and no apparent differences between the two hands.

He reached a conclusion that “there is no apparent relationship between knuckle cracking and the subsequent development of arthritis of the fingers.”

Dr. Donald Unger has been honored with the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Some facts relating to the knuckle cracking:

(a)    The "cracking" of knuckle cracking seems to be produced by increasing the space between finger joints. This causes gas bubbles in the joint fluid to collapse or burst. Its a bit like blowing up a balloon and then stretching the walls of the balloon outward until it pops.


(b)    The reason we cant crack the same knuckle or joint twice right away is that it takes some time about 20 minutes for the gas bubbles to accumulate again in the joint.

(c)    Cracking the knuckles is probably harmless. Although there have been occasional reports of dislocations or tendon injuries from overly vigorous knuckle cracking, such problems seem very much to be the exception and not the rule.

(d)    And of course knuckle cracking can loosen the joints and temporary enlarges them. That’s probably the reason why knuckle crackers say that they feel more flexible after cracking the joints.


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