The Truth About Cracking Knuckles

Personally, i’m addicted to cracking all the joints in my body. Fingers, spine, neck, wrists, ankles, I can even crack my elbows which people find completely disturbing but I just think the feeling of cracking feels so good.

I’m sure we have all heard that cracking the bones in your body will cause pain when you’re older or cause you to get arthritis. My mother is always yelling at me for this telling me it can’t be good for my body, but I started to think, what is so bad about it? What even is the noise that we hear when we “crack” the bones in our body.

I found that the cracking sound is not what most people would think it would be. I myself figured that the cracking noise was the sound of the joint popping out. But in my research I found that the sound was actually a cavity opening when you pull or bend the body part. For example, when you pull at one of your fingers, like your index finger, a space opens between the phalanges and the metacarpus which causes the sound.



Now what is up for debate is is this harmful for your body? In a study conducted of 215 people, it was found that cracking your knuckles did not lead to arthritis. The type of study that was conducted was a case control study. A case control study evaluates two groups and compares their results. In this study the null hypothesis was that cracking knuckles does not cause arthritis. And the alternative hypothesis was that there is a relationship between cracking knuckles and arthritis. 215 people participated in this study, 135 of them partook in the study and 80 were used as controls. A control is a group of experimental units that does not receive treatment in an experiment. In this experiment the control group were participants who did not crack their knuckles. The findings were that the both the experimental group and the control group had findings that were very similar. The experimental group had a 18.1% of having arthritis and the control group had a 21.5%. The study also revealed that the P-value was .548. Therefore, because alpha was greater than 5%, we accept the null hypothesis. Again, the null hypothesis was that there is no relationship between cracking knuckles and arthritis. 

The research I did on cracking knuckles was only in relationship to arthritis, but it would be interesting to see if cracking knuckles was hazardous in any other ways. As for now, I and all other rational people now have no reason to worry about cracking my knuckles.

5 thoughts on “The Truth About Cracking Knuckles

  1. Caroline Sorrentino

    Mis-post read, I stopped what I was doing and cracked literally every joint i possibly could on my body. It’s such an addiction and it is so satisfying, but why? This article written by a fellow “cracker” describes how it’s so addicting. It boils down to the relieving feeling, much like stretching as well as the therapeutic sound that soothes you. I’m glad there is no trace to any harm on your body because I don’t know what I would do!!

  2. Melissa Fraistat

    I really enjoyed reading this blog, because I myself also have a slight obsession with cracking various parts of my body. Even though I constantly crack my knuckles and back, there is always a worry in the back of my mind that I am causing future harm to myself, arthritis, specifically. I’m glad that there seems to be no correlation between the two, and hopefully there is no other type of harm cracking knuckles could have.

  3. Michael David Harding

    As a fellow Chiropractic addict I was at one point very concerned about the harm cracking my back, neck, fingers, wrists, ankles and toes would do to my body. I, like you did my own research a while back and was relieved to find out I have nothing too serious to worry about. Although I never came across this study it is very interesting. My one question to the conductor of this study would be if the participants took a prior health screening to get valid evidence on the information. Data such as proneness to arthritis would be great information to a reader.

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