"For some people cracking joints really grates on the nerves. Cracking joints is not harmful. Cracking joints is just popping bubbles in the fluid in your joints. However, if you're thinking about giving it up, think about it impairing your joint development and giving you arthritis if you carry on. Even though it's not true, it can help you give up."―BBC.
I think with that statement we have pretty much established that this addiction isn't really harmful. Incessant knuckle cracking, in order to relieve your tired fingers of knuckle pain and stiffness, may cause some trauma to the surrounding tissues and ligaments. But that's just it, if you do not consider the clucking noises made by others, primarily out of annoyance, whenever you indulge in your soothing habit.
But I feel it you would be interested to read about some of the longstanding myths about the negative effects of cracking your knuckles. Read on to see how a simple habit can be fussed over and blown out of proportions.
Myth #1: Cracking Induces Arthritis
Honestly, medical science is yet to prove any connection between arthritis and cracking knuckles. Initially, it had been a medical doubt, which then became a weapon in the hands of people in order to prevent others from cracking their fingers and produce the supposedly irritating grating noise.
Myth #2: Cracking Reduces Gripping Power
In this regard, all I can say is that incessant cracking of knuckles can potentially cause harm to your delicate tissues around the knuckle joints. But whether this directly influences your gripping power negatively is still not clear. Only future studies can determine conclusively how veritable this belief is. As of now, it remains a myth.
Myth #3: Cracking Fattens Finger Joints
Well, I have honestly seen my brother and my best friend cracking their fingers and knuckles for as long as I can remember, and believe me they have the slimmest and the straightest fingers that you can fathom. I have even asked a lot of people about this, but none of them seemed to be able to validate it. Of course, medical science does not second this effect about cracking your knuckles. So, a veritable myth alright!
Myth #4: Cracking Creates Stress on Ligaments
This allegation also requires further research, as it is still unclear whether people crack their knuckles due to pent-up stress after hours of writing or typing or whether the knuckle cracking habit is responsible for inducing ligament stress. The debate is yet to reach a final verdict.
According to a recent research paper dealing with the issue of joint cracking habits of people, penned by Tyler Cymet, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, people who crack their joints often do away with rigidity and stiffness, tend to work more and faster than people who don't. But even then, don't indulge in knuckle cracking just for the sake of it, as not only is it rude to do it in public, but also strenuous for your ligaments in the long run. Some doctors also recommend pushing your knuckles backwards rather than forward while cracking your knuckles. With almost ¼ of the populace of the United States indulging in this habit, it is alright if you follow by the rules a little bit, as you never really know when a myth becomes a reality. For now though, it is just the popping sound created by the execution of the process of 'cavitation' or the simple rupturing of several air bubbles in the synovial fluid, present in the joint cavity of your knuckles.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.