Whether it is a habit or they just do it from time to time, everybody cracks their knuckles. In fact, a recent study showed that up to 50% of the world population does it! But is this nothing more than a guilty pleasure, or is it harmful on the long term?
In time, a large number of theories regarding how harmful it is to crack one’s knuckles increased in popularity. One of the most commonly heard ones is that this habit can lead, on the long term, to arthritis, which often gets people terrified. But how much of all of that is actually true?
To begin with, it is impossible to crack your own knuckles by yourself – at least not that easily. The noise we hear when we do it is actually caused by the synovial fluid, which is a special liquid which acts as a lubrificant for the joints.
The moment you bend your fingers, the joints expand. Consequently, the pressure in that area lowers. Simultaneously, the bubbles formed by gasses such as oxygen and nitrogen start popping inside the synovial fluid. In fact, that is the sound that you hear as you ‘crack’ knuckles. But why do people do it after all?
The answer is simple: the feeling we get once the pressure at the joint level decreases is good; mainly, it is a relieving sensation. However, one can only knock their own knuckles if it’s been 15 minutes after the last time they did so.
To conclude, the supposition that you could get arthritis by cracking knuckles is just a myth. Furthermore, it is good for the joints, so anybody of any age can do it without any trouble.