We’ve all heard our parents say “Don’t crack your knuckles, it’s bad for you”, but is it? The ‘popping’ sound is called crepitus and it happens when air bubbles are released from the joint spaces. It is extremely common for our joints to crack, especially as we grow older, so typically it’s not something to worry about.
As we age, our joints tend to make more noise because our cartilage wears down making the surface rougher when these rub against each other. The way you sleep, walk, move, and do daily activities has an effect on how often your joints crack but everyone will experience this at some point in their life.
The myth that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis is completely erroneous. There is no scientific study that proves that there is a relationship between these two. However, according to the US Anatomy and Physiology Instructors’ Cooperative, which examined 300 knuckle crackers, while no direct connection was made between joint cracking and arthritis, those who habitually did cracked their knuckles, showed soft tissue damage and loss of grip strength.
There are cases where this sound can indicate more, but only if accompanied by swelling and pain. As long as it’s not painful, joint noise is okay. If the cracking comes with swelling or pain, then it’s the time to see a chiropractor or a doctor.
In some cases, people like to crack their back and neck but there is a right way to do this and a wrong way to do this. If you crack these too forcefully or too often, it can be very harmful to your health because you can pinch the nerves in these areas making it an extremely painful experience. In some cases, the pain can make it impossible for you to move.
In order to prevent any long-term damage, it’s advisable to visit a local chiropractor to help stabilise the joint which will stop you feeling the need to do the cracking yourself.