T Nation

Help, I Can't Stop Popping


#1

My knuckles, that is.

It has become an unconscious habit: i always find myself popping my knuckles. It not only is a disgusting sound that i know is a huge pet peeve for many people but i have also heard that it can lead to arthritis in the joints. I have moderately strong hands and i've tried strengthening the fingers individually to see if that would tighten them up, but alas: no luck. If i don't pop my fingers they feel tight and sluggish. Being a trumpet player, and a wide receiver/cornerback/ frequent user of the computer with a typing speed over 80wpm, i can't afford to have my fingers feeling sluggish. Can someone "crack" some light on this?

Thanks,
-M


#2

Everything I have seen on it has said that knuckle popping doesn't have any known bad effects. If it bothers other people, thats more their problem than yours. I say pop freely.


#3

My dad (a chiropractor) has always said that if anything, popping your knuckles prevents arthritis. It doesn't promote it.


#4

A simple Google search about it gave tons of results and explanations.

This one's from some kid's site:

"The Real Deal on Cracking Your Kuckles
What's really happening when you "crack" your knuckles is that you are either pushing the joint back into or out of its normal position. Joints are the meeting points of two separate bones which are held together by connecting tissues and ligaments. A thick, clear lubricant (made mostly of carbon dioxide and some nitrogen) called synovial fluid is found between the bones. When you stretch or pull your finger to get that desired popping noise, you are causing the bones to pull apart. Pressure is reduced on the synovial fluid and bubbles form that quickly expand and then burst - which is why you get that noise.

Does Knuckle Cracking Lead to Arthritis?
Not everybody's joints crack. Some people have a larger separation between the bones and some people can't relax enough to allow the bones to separate. If you can crack and your mom tells you, you're going to get arthritis, she's just yanking your chain. There is no scientific evidence that cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis."


#5

I found this on askalice.com concerning cracking knuckles.

This site seems pretty legit. So what's the final word? Someone has got to know more about the subject.

"On the other hand, escaping gas seems pretty innocuous, right? Wrong. Mom wasn't too far off when she told you that cracking your knuckles would make them big. By cracking your knuckles, what you are doing is pushing the joint beyond its physiological stop sign, or further than its range of motion would normally allow for. This puts undue stress on the ligaments and tendons that hold the joint together and in place. Ligaments behave a little like rubber bands---you can pull and stretch them a lot; but, eventually they won't return to their original shape and length.

After years of pushing your joint past its normal range of motion, it may become "hypermobile." If the joint is very mobile (as in the hand), the joint surfaces might wear out. If this happens, the body responds by laying down more bone. Although this sounds like the body healing itself, in reality, matters are made worse. Usually, the bone is not laid down smoothly and the joint surfaces become rough. Worst case scenario - spurring or sharp spots will develop in the bone of the joint in question. Eventually, you may have rough surfaces moving against each other, to which the body might respond by swelling, increasing the amount of fluid and blood in the area. Talk about unpleasant friction! In the end, you could have a joint ("arthro") that is inflamed ("-itis").

Of course, little research has been carried out in this area, so it's difficult to say with a high degree of certainty that knuckle and other joint cracking will lead to arthritis or other joint diseases. But it's fairly safe to say that repeatedly pushing a joint beyond its normal physical range is not a good thing to do. And years down the road, you could possibly end up with big problems, not just big knuckles like mom said!"

-M


#6

Hi,
I'm a long term cracker too! (begining to sound like an AA meet!)
I'd guess I've been cracking my fingers for 35years, I've managed to restict it to mainly middle and ring fingers on both hands for the last year or so, but they probably get done more often than every hour.

Anyway you might check out grippermania.


#7

Hello everyone my name is Zeb and I'm a knuckle popper.....

(Group responds): "Welcome Zeb."


#8

are there any pros who know how to crack your thumb(not the finger,but put your finger halfway between the bottom of your thumb and wrist,press and enjoy)i was always told it just breaks fluid sacs that are "cushions" at the joints....either way if it does cause arthritis then ill probably get it,i cant stop even for a day