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Is Cracking Your Knuckles A Healthy Habit?

14:48:29 07.06.2012 posted by at 14:48:29 07.06.2012
Is Cracking Your Knuckles A Healthy Habit?
Cracking of the knuckles also known as joints cracking or popping is a common phenomenon among people of all ages, especially young adults. For some, this is a nervous habit while for others it brings relief as there is increased mobility of the cracked joints. Research has shown that between 25%-54% of people crack their joints with more men doing so than women.
Researchers are suggesting that joint cracking is as a result of a tiny cavity of gas forming and later collapsing in the synovial fluid of the joint when the two ends of the joint are pulled apart, thus creating a popping noise. Cracking sounds can also be triggered by tendons snapping over a joint.

Some people have wondered if knuckle cracking is healthy and does not cause arthritis or any other joint damage. While joint cracking may not cause arthritis, it is not completely risk free. One study found that there was no increase in hand arthritis among knuckle crackers. However, knuckle cracking was related to hand swelling and lower grip strength. Another study indicated that while knuckle cracking was not associated with arthritis, it was associated with dislocation of tendons and damage to ligaments that surround the joints. So, while cracking your knuckles is not thought to cause arthritis, it may lead to soft tissue injuries and this has made some scientists to discourage it.

Some scientists have however advised that you may not need to worry about the cracking of your joint causing a problem if the sound is not accompanied by pain. The time to worry about cracking or popping a joint is when the sounds are accompanied by pain. Joint swelling is also abnormal and should be assessed by a health professional. If the joint gets locked or stuck when it pops or cracks this may also indicate a joint problem and should be evaluated. If there is decreased motion of the joint, swelling or a loss of joint function, it is important to seek medical advice and treatment.

Written by
Mobolaji Oguntolu
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