Knuckle popping won’t kill you

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 7, 2015

Don’t pop your knuckles or you’ll get arthritis,” is what parents and relatives used to tell me as a kid.

Not knowing any better I believed them and kept any knuckle or joint popping down to a minimum.

But as I grow older, just moving a certain way can prompt a knuckle or joint to make that recognizable “cracking” sound.

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At this point I can say that I don’t suffer from arthritis, which may not be the case down the road.

However, there has been recent research to debunk the long believed myth that cracking your joints will bring about arthritis.

Additionally, there’s an explanation as to why that noise occurs.

First, a video posted on the BBC reports findings from several studies that determined there is no link to cracking joints and the development of arthritis. In fact, of the people that do and don’t pop their knuckles, only 20 percent of the people in both groups developed arthritis.

Now on to why the noise is heard in the first place. Between each joint is a system comprised of essential ligaments, fluid and cartilage. The sound has been determined to come from the fluid. It appears that the gases that we take in every time we breathe dissolve into more than just our blood; it also dissolves into the fluid between our joints, which is called synovial fluid.

When people crack their knuckles they are releasing that gas, which is said to be the source of the noise.

This also provides evidence as to why most of us can’t pop our joints twice in a row; once gas has escaped, it takes about 15 minutes to accumulate again, the BBC reports.

The video also included evidence that one man decided to crack his knuckles everyday for 60 years, in only one hand. The other hand acted as the control. After that time period he noted no difference between the two hands. So, crack those knuckles to your heart’s content. That is until the other person in the room gives you a funny look.