Cracking one’s knuckles is not necessarily harmful for an individual. There are some negative aspects of the action - for example, if you crack your knuckles to relieve yourself of knuckle pain and stiffness, this may cause some damage to the nearby tissues and ligaments. For most others, cracking the knuckles is merely an indulgence or a habit. Certain myths as to the potential side-effects of cracking one’s knuckles have sprung up over the years, and this article will now examine the truth, if any, behind these myths.
One myth that exists states that repeated knuckle cracking will lead to arthritis. However, there is something of a grey area here. Medical science has thus far failed to prove any genuine connection between the two. Possibly, this statement became a weapon in the arsenal of those who were averse to the knuckle-cracking habits of others.
Another myth says that knuckle cracking can reduce one’s power to grip. There is something resembling accuracy in this statement - cracking knuckles has the potential to harm delicate tissues around the joints. However, whether this does indeed have an influence on one’s gripping power is an issue that is still up for debate. Future studies may yet prove the case one way or another.
Next on the list; can knuckle cracking fatten the finger joints? Medical science cannot confirm the truth in this rumour and, thus, once more, the truth behind the myth cannot be confirmed.
As for the idea that knuckle cracking causes stress to the ligaments, this is a theory that definitely requires further research. This is the case because there is still doubt as to what actually causes the stress. Is it caused by hours of writing or typing? Is knuckle-cracking merely a response to this stress? Again, the debate will go on.
So what conclusions, if any, can we draw? In fact, some sources feel that knuckle cracking may in fact have benefits - Tyler Cymet of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine feels that cracking one’s knuckles can reduce stiffness and rigidity. His study also states that does who do crack their knuckles may experience a slight increase in productivity as a result. But, one should definitely moderate the amount of knuckle-cracking. In the long run, knuckle cracking won’t be overly beneficial and if one must crack one’s knuckles, use backward rather than forward movements of the knuckles. Don’t crack your knuckles for no reason, it may strain the ligaments after prolonged cracking over a number of years.