If you have memories of a friend in high school who would constantly crack their knuckles while sitting in the cafeteria because they like the sound it makes and even the way it feels since it makes more room in the joint, you are not alone. Maybe you have a coworker that does the same thing. Perhaps you are the one who has had a habit of cracking their knuckles for that reason. And maybe the reason you do it is that it can relieve tension in the joint area and increase the amount of room in it too.
Some also do it as a response to stress or nervousness which is no different from shaking your leg, or it can be a habit. However, is cracking your knuckles good for you? Cracking your knuckles is not overly harmful but it is not something that you should keep doing. Scientists have also looked for links between constantly cracking your knuckles and the formation of arthritis and there has not been one found yet.
What issues Can Cracking Your Knuckles Cause?
If you constantly crack your knuckles, then one thing that does happen is that you are creating a cavity at the joint. The tendons end up snapping over the joints and when you crack the knuckles you are moving the tendon out of place and it then moves right back in as the joint is moving. Therefore, it may not necessarily cause arthritis but it can cause joint instability if you keep giving into this habit. The more you do it, the more of a risk that will happen. There is also a risk that you could end up causing the finger to come out of the joint socket and that will end up meaning that you will have to take a trip to the ER.
At the same time, there should not be any pain associated with cracking knuckles and if there is, then perhaps you may have arthritis or gout. However, it is best to stop as mentioned, it can cause other issues with your ligaments and tendons.
What Causes The Popping Noise?
The reason behind the noise of popping knuckles is not confirmed but the belief is that the reason there is that popping noise is that it causes gas bubbles to burst. Whenever a joint is extended, it can cause the pressure to become lower inside which will end up releasing any gas such as carbon dioxide. What happens is that carbon dioxide is released in the bubble format.
Therefore, when you crack a joint, then you will create a vacuum inside and that is where the gasses will go. That means when you pull the finger to crack your knuckle, suddenly there is a lot of pressure and that is what bursts the bubbles which is how the sound is made. As interesting as the popping sounds are, if you have this habit, you will want to stop.
How To Kick The Habit Of Cracking Knuckles
Even though there are risks with cracking knuckles, for the most part, it is not harming you. However, it will annoy others around you. Firstly, why not think about why you keep doing it and what you gain from it. You may want to swap it for other helpful habits such as squeezing a stress ball or using your hands for other stress relievers. You may want to wear a rubber band on your wrist the next time you feel so inclined to crack your knuckles. By doing those things, you will become more aware of this habit instead of subconsciously giving into it repeatedly.