True or False: Knuckle Cracking Causes Arthritis

Crack. Pop. Click. These sounds jump from the joints of the many children and adults who are in the habit of cracking their knuckles.

If you cracked your knuckles as a child, you may have been warned that it could cause you to develop arthritis later in life. Is this true? Probably not, according to a handful of studies on the subject. While cracking your knuckles may not cause arthritis, some researchers believe that habitual cracking could create some problems later on. Not to mention that the incessant pops and clicks are likely to be a major annoyance to those around you.

Evidence for the Health Claim

Your knuckles are the joints in your fingers and toes. They are located where two bones meet, and they are bathed in a liquid called synovial fluid , which lubricates the joints. Sometimes a bubble of gas develops in the synovial fluid, and when the joint is manipulated in certain ways (eg, when a person is bending or compressing his or her hand), the bubble can burst, making an audible popping or cracking sound.

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