Cracking Your Joint Isn’t How You Get Arthritis
Cracking knuckles is a satisfying, if annoying, habit. But some people also worry that it could cause arthritis. The good news is that’s not the case. Arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by the wearing away of the cartilage in the joints. No amount of cracking your knuckles or other joints will lead to arthritis. When you crack your knuckles, you create space between the joints. The “cracking” sound comes from gas bubbles popping in the fluid that lubricates the joints.
So, while it might drive people around you crazy, all evidence suggests that knuckle-cracking is harmless. If you hope to avoid arthritis, you should avoid activities that increase your risk of joint overuse and injury. People with joint injuries are at a much higher risk of developing arthritis later in life. Staying active, strengthening the muscles around your joints, and maintaining a healthy weight will also reduce your osteoarthritis risk.