What You Should Know About Cracking Joints

Cracking my knuckles has become an everyday habit for me. And chances are you crack your knuckles regularly as well. But there’s so much we don’t know about this habit. Does it cause any harm? And why can’t you crack your knuckles twice right away?

In this article, I will answer these questions and share facts you may not know about cracking joints.

What You Should Know About Cracking Joints

Why do joints crack?

The cracking noise in your joints comes from the compression of nitrogen bubbles, which naturally occur in the space between your joints.

Our joints tend to crack more as we get older, because the cartilage wears off, making the surfaces rougher. This makes them produce noise as they rub against each other.

Is cracking knuckles bad for your joints?

Have you ever been told that cracking your knuckles or other joints can cause arthritis? Well, that’s an old wives’ tale. There’s convincing evidence that cracking your joints doesn’t do any harm.

In one experiment, a physician who regularly cracked the knuckles of one hand for decades took some x-rays of their hands. They found that there was no difference in arthritis between the two hands. Researchers also made the same conclusion in this larger study.

There are a few cases, however, where people have hurt their joints by cracking them. That usually happens when you use too much force or the wrong technique.

Joint noises don’t increase the risk of arthritis.

Are you worried that the popping sounds from your knees, neck, or hips are increasing the risk of arthritis? There’s no need to worry. That’s a normal occurrence.

You should only be worried if the joint noises are accompanied by swelling, pain and other joint symptoms. In such a case, it’s important to see a doctor.

Shot of a senior group of woman and men working out together at the gym

Joint sounds could be a sign of tight muscles or tendons.

Sometimes your joints make a clicking or snapping sound due to tight muscles or tendons surrounding that joint. You may notice this during your workouts, especially when doing repetitive movements, such as a popping sound in your knee when doing squats.

You can fix this by improving your flexibility. Stretch the muscles attached to the cracking joint before and after you exercise. For your knees, stretch the hamstrings, quadriceps, IT band muscles and calf muscles. For the elbow, stretch the biceps, triceps and forearm muscles.

Why you can’t crack your knuckles twice.

As I explained earlier, cracking occurs due to compression of the gas between the joints. After cracking your knuckles, it takes time for the gas bubbles to form again, and that’s why you can’t crack your knuckles back-to-back.

Now you can crack your knuckles without guilt but dont do it in a quiet environment. It can be annoying to some people.

Related at Care2

39 comments

Helen C
Helen C5 months ago

thank you

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Vincent T
William T6 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Naomi R
Naomi R6 months ago

thanks

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Ruth S
Ruth S6 months ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S6 months ago

Thanks.

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Sherry K
Sherry Kohn6 months ago

Many thanks to you !

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Danuta W
Danuta W6 months ago

thank you for sharing

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Julie W
Julie W6 months ago

I feel physically ill when someone does this. Horrible habit.

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Debbi W
Debbi W6 months ago

I have never understood why anyone likes to crack their knuckles. It sounds terrible.

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Aa M
Aa M6 months ago

awesome

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