Does knuckle cracking lead to arthritis?-AHS

Did your parents always warn you not to crack your knuckles otherwise you would end up getting arthritis in your hands? For many years now, repeated knuckle cracking has long been thought of as a leading contributor to joint trouble, particularly arthritis.

A recent case-controlled study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (1) has put this old wives tale to the test. They examined the connection between habitual knuckle cracking and eventual osteoarthritis. Interestingly, they found that there was no correlation between habitual knuckle cracking and hand arthritis.

In the same study, they also put forward the question as to why individuals crack their knuckles. The author proposed that it actually causes temporary relief to joint stiffness and reduces symptoms of arthritis. It’s also suggested that when one cracks their own knuckles it has close neurological relationship between the hands and the cortex of the brain. Meaning, manipulating the knuckles has a profound stimulatory effect upon the cortex and may serve as a ‘manual caffeine’ to give us a mental lift.

Please call your Chiropractor at AHS Seaforth on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 545 Sydney Rd in Seaforth servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.


Knuckle Cracking and Hand Osteoarthritis. deWeber, K., Olszewski, M., and Ortolano, R. Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD. Journal of American Board of Family Medicine. 2011 Mar-Apr;24(2):169-74.