I have heard this all my life. Every single time I crack my knuckles my mom yells at me saying that I am going to get arthritis if I continue to do this. I have been cracking my knuckles pretty much all of my life, and it has become sort of a habit. So it made me wonder if there was actually truth to what she was saying. She is a nurse, so I figured she maybe has some sort of medical facts that support it, however I have also heard many people say that this is only a myth. This intrigued me, so I decided to investigate and find out if cracking your knuckles truly causes arthritis.
A study was done by Dr. Donald Unger to determine if cracking knuckles caused arthritis. He decided to use himself for the experiment. For 50 years he would crack his knuckles on his left hand, but not on his right hand. Dr. Unger reported that he cracked the knuckles on his left hand at least 36,500 times. The result of this study was that despite him cracking the knuckles on his left hand, he did not have any arthritis or differences in either of his hands.
That study was only done of one person, so I still wanted to see more evidence from a larger study of people. A study was done by the Uniformed services University of the Health Sciences. The study looked at 215 people, 20% of them cracked their knuckles regularly. The result of the study was that 18.1% of the people that cracked their knuckles had arthritis while 21.5% of the people who didn’t crack their knuckles had arthritis. The conclusion of this study is that people who crack their knuckles do not have a better chance of getting arthritis than people who don’t.
After looking at both of these studies, I think that it is safe to say that cracking your knuckles will not cause you to get arthritis. There could still be evidence that we have not yet found that proves otherwise, but for now we can say that this is true. Although I think it would be good to do a larger study of this to be more certain. Cracking knuckles may not be beneficial, but it does not seem to be harmful, so now when my mom tells me to stop, I can provide her with some factual evidence of why it is okay.