Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ha - I Knew It!
Cracking Your Knuckles Is NOT Bad For You

Though annoying for those around you,
cracking your knuckles is not harmful.

Bad Habit or Not?
If you've been around me for more than 30 seconds, you might notice that I have a habit of cracking my knuckles. My grandchildren have been so impressed by the ease in which I can do this, that they themselves have mastered this skill. When they visited last week, I observed them cracking not only their fingers, but all 10 of their toes - a feat I have yet to accomplish. My heart swelled with pride.

Now you are probably saying, "what a terrible thing to teach your grandchildren." Not so fast.

Years ago, while having my back cracked at the chiropractor, I asked what actually was happening and why it was good for me. He went on and on about  how cracking lowers the pressure which allows fluid to enter between the joints, blah blah blah. "So", I said, "cracking my knuckles must be good for me too since I'm essentially doing the same thing.!"

He was taken aback for a while, then paused, and with a big "hmmmm", he said, "I guess so." I took that as a big YES, do it all you want no matter how much it annoys everyone around you.

So this morning, when I read an article online referencing a study done by Dr. Szabo, a hand surgeon at the UC Davis Medical Center and Dr. Robert Boutin, a radiologist at UC Davis, to see what was causing the "pop" and if knuckle cracking led to hand problems, I was very interested to see the results.

After studying the ultrasounds of 400 knuckles of both knuckle-crackers and non-knuckle-crackers, the knuckle-crackers were found not have any hand problems and had no difference in laxity or grip strength than those who did not crack their knuckles. More encouragement to continue my habit!

There's More to my Story
Both my mother and my maternal grandmother had terrible arthritis in their hands. Their joints were swollen, their fingers were crooked and disfigured, and they were in constant pain. I worried my entire life that I would suffer with this same condition and not be able to play piano, guitar, and all the other things I enjoy doing that require healthy hands. 

But my mother and grandmother were not knuckle crackers! Maybe it's luck, but at 68 I don't have any of these problems. 

So I just wanted to share this tidbit to all of you fellow knuckle-crackers out there and to others who are erroneously telling their spouses and kids to stop cracking their knuckles because it's bad for them. 

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