Does Knuckle Cracking Cause Arthritis?


We've all heard it: cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis. Cracking knuckles is a release of gas into the fluid surrounding the joints, which can feel relieving for the crackers. Some say, however, that doing this too often can have negative effects later in life.


One man took it upon himself to find out. Dr. Donald Ungar cracked the knuckles of his left hand at least twice a day while leaving the right hand uncracked for fifty years. At the end of the experiment, he looked at both hands and felt no difference.  While this is certainly dedication to the cause, it would be hard for the sample size to get smaller, so we can't tell how conclusive the evidence is.  Maybe he had good genes to protect against arthritis.


In another study Dr. DeWeber carried out a retroactive case-control study and asked 214 of whom 135 had osteoarthritis and 80 who did not. The study was meant to find if those with osteoarthritis were more likely to have cracked their knuckles regularly during their lives compared to those who did not have osteoarthritis. The results were that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. This seemed to be a well carried out study, in which I can't find any obvious mistakes. It supports the theory that cracking your knuckles has nothing to do with arthritis.


Another study also investigated knuckle-cracking in which 300 participants aged 45 years and older were involved. 74 people were habitual knuckle crackers and the other 226 were not. The rate of arthritis in both groups was equal.  Though they also noticed a tendency for the knuckle-crackers to smoking, drinking and manual labor, which could all be confounding variables that could affect the study. Overall, however, I believe that knuckle cracking does not cause arthritis due to the multiple experiments that have proved this statement a myth.



This is interesting because I had always been told that cracking your knuckles or joints does cause arthritis. I am a big knuckle cracker as well as back neck and feet. I've been doing this since I was little and I could not stop if I tried. Once I have the thought in my head I need to crack. However, I am not 100% sure but I think that I would agree with you that cracking knuckles is not the only or main cause for someone developing arthritis. There are many factors that go into someone having arthritis. Here’s a link I found that shows how other factors contribute.

This was a very interesting article because I crack my knuckles all the time and my mom always either tells me that it is going to cause authoritis or that my fingers were going to become big and swollen. I think if an individual gets authorities, they were already going to. Cracking a finger is just adjusting it to make it feel better, and according to these studies there were not much of a correlation. I go to a chiropractor who cracks every part of my body, this is helping me not hurting me. Chiropractors would not exist if they were causing authorities to every individual they treat.

I also found this article to be very interesting. Like the others stated above I crack my knuckles all the time. When I wake up, when I'm nervous, before I do something and especially after writing a long paper or a lot of notes. My mom hates when I crack my knuckles because like others she is a firm believer that doing so will cause arthritis. I could tell her a million times that this fact has been proven to not be true, but she will still sit there and nag me until I stop cracking my knuckles. I also believe that genes may have something to do with who gets arthritis and who doesn't. For example, people who have brittle bones, could have a better chance of getting arthritis. Check out these facts and some treatments for arthritis!

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

ADHD (Anxiety and Depression are Hidden Dangers)
During the summer I visited a medical psychiatrist because I thought I was suffering from depression and anxiety. After several…
Increasing Obesity One Commercial at a Time
It is absolutely no secret that obesity is currently a major problem in our country, specifically among the younger demographic.…
Blacked Out
As college students, we hear it all the time; "Dude I was blacked out last night" or "I don't remember…

Old Contributions