Addicted to Knuckle Cracking

   Have you ever heard that cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis in your future?  I am convinced I am addicted to cracking my knuckles.  Before I go to bed I always have to crack my neck, back, knuckles and toes. The myth is that knuckle-popping inflames your joints and leads to arthritis.  
  What does cracking your knuckles do?  It causes the bones to pull apart which forms a gas bubble and breaks the adhesive seal in the joint.  This causes the cracking noise.  About 1/4 of the people in the United States crack their knuckles.  If you think you are addicted to cracking your knuckles like me do not worry you are not alone.  Knuckle cracking is common in older children and teens. 
   According to Suzanne Wright, an M.D. for Marshfield Clinic Marshfield Center pediatric, children like the sound the cracking makes, that is why they do it.  The Anatomy and Physiology Instructors Cooperative examined 300 knuckle crackers for signs of joint damage.  Even though there was no connection between joint cracking and arthritis, people who had a habit of cracking their body parts showed soft tissue damage and loss of grip strength.  
  Another experiment done was by a researcher who for 50 years cracked the knuckles of his left hand at least twice a day and left his right hand as the control group.  In the long run the knuckles on the left hand were cracked 36,500 times.   
  300 hospital patients were also evaluated and asked questions about their knuckle cracking.  74 patients admitted to cracking their knuckles for 18-60 years.  However, there was no greater rate of arthritis in the knuckle crackers.  The rate of arthritis between the knuckle and non knuckle crackers still showed no difference.  Knuckle crackers did however have weaker hands and more swelling in their hands.  
   In another study done with an x-ray, showed that 18.1% of people that had arthritis in the study were knuckle crackers and 21.5% had arthritis who were not knuckle crackers.  
   An interesting fact is the middle finger is the part of the body that can be or is cracked the most.  
  What part of the body do you think you crack the most?  Do you find that you are addicted to cracking parts of your body like I feel I am?  Do you feel weakness in your hands or certain parts of the body after you crack them or do you feel more relieved? 


I myself do not regularly crack my joints, but I do know people who will regularly crack their knuckles and have been told that it will lead to arthritis. I was always hesitant to believe this because I figured that if it was true, a lot more people would have arthritis. However, causing your hands to be weaker is something that I can truly believe is a side effect. Also, what was the result of the man who only cracked one hand?

I found this article extremely interesting because you took such a different approach on the actual topic of knuckle crackle. Most people always talk about whether knuckle cracking is good or bad for you but the idea that knuckle cracking could be addictive is new to me. I am an avid knuckle cracker sadly and I have been trying to break the habit for ever. I don't know if I would ever classify myself as addicted but I feel like it is a very bad habit.
I also would like to know what the results were for the man who only cracked one hand because I feel like that is such a rare occurrence. Also, I would like to know if there are addictive differences in only cracking certain parts of your body? For example, I feel like more people crack their hands rather than their backs or necks so would it be reasonable to think that it's easier to become more addicted to cracking your hands or back?
Secondly, you commented in your first paragraph that knuckle cracking has negative consequences. I feel like those are more commonly myths. I researched a little just to see if it really was because it was something that I wondered but never really looked into. Turns out that Scientific American states that knuckle cracking isn't bad for you after all! After significant studies, it was shown that a serious addictive knuckle cracker there was no arthritis in either hand and no differences in the hands either. It's just a myth so not to worry to anyone who cracks their muscles!

I actually found this to be a very interesting blog post. I would've like to know more about the man who only cracked the knuckles on his left hand, did it have any effects on his health? I personally never crack my knuckles and find the sound gives me sort of goosebumps/chills for some reason. I too have also heard that it may lead to arthritis. According to WebMD "Joint "cracking" can result from a negative pressure pulling nitrogen gas temporarily into the joint, such as when knuckles are "cracked." However, there doesn't seem to be any real harm coming from this act. I suppose it's just one of the many medical myths out there, fabricated by bored minds.

I also like the idea of looking at this as an idea of addiction as compared to the idea of a cause to a major problem. I remember being in 5th grade and cracking my knuckles all of the time. My friends had me convinced it was bad for me so I made myself quit. Then, being evil little brats, my friends surrounded me one day and all proceeded to crack their knuckles over and over as a form of torture until I gave in and did it again. Turns out it is a lot harder to quit a second time (maybe someone should blog about that).
Anyway, This link explains the results of the 50 year study of the man who popped his left hand but not his right. It is also informative on how Henry’s Law explains knuckle cracking.

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