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Is Cracking Your Knuckles Harmful?

Cracking Knuckles and Arthritis

Story at-a-glance -

  • Cracking your knuckles is not linked to an increased risk of arthritis
  • Habitual knuckle cracking has been linked to hand swelling, lower grip strength, knuckle pads, and injuries, including dislocated fingers, and overstretched ligaments
  • Some experience a “therapeutic release” upon cracking their knuckles, but the potential for damage outweighs any perceived psychological benefit

By Dr. Mercola

Your joints, including those in your knuckles, are surrounded by a membrane called the synovial membrane, which forms a capsule around the ends of your bones. Inside this membrane is synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant and shock absorber so your bones don’t grind together when you move.


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