[Chlug] Relationship between cracking knuckles and arthritis

Sanjohan info at sanjohan.com
Sat Aug 8 12:23:20 EST 2009

Dear Customer,

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about the relationship
between cracking knuckles and arthritis is there is no relationship
between cracking knuckles and arthritis. The art of knuckle cracking may
be cringe-inducing to some, but practitioners are not necessarily
setting themselves up for a lifetime of anti-inflammatory medications
and mentholated hand cremes. A lifetime of swollen knuckles is not out
of the question, however.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
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Knuckle popping involves applying a certain amount of pressure against
one or more finger joints, primarily the first joints closest to the
hand. If done correctly, the knuckle joints will separate slightly and a
loud popping or cracking noise can be heard. Once all of the available
finger or toe knuckles have all been cracked or popped, there is usually
a recovery time before they can be cracked again. Some people are
capable of popping virtually every joint in their hands, feet and even a
few vertebrae in their necks and spines.

Because long-term habitual knuckle cracking can cause the knuckles to
become swollen or stiff, some have tried to prove a connection between
cracking knuckles and arthritis, although the two conditions are
triggered by entirely different mechanisms. Arthritis is an inflammatory
disease which can affect almost every joint in a person's body, while
knuckle cracking can only be performed safely on relatively few joints.

Many joints in the human body are lubricated with a substance known as
synovial fluid. This fluid tends to collect between knuckle joints, and
over time it produces bubbles of nitrogen gas. A knuckle cracker
hyper-extends the knuckle joints, allowing this build-up of nitrogen gas
to escape. The released gas creates the satisfying popping sound which
designates a successful knuckle cracking. It can take from several
minutes to several hours before the synovial fluid creates more nitrogen
bubbles, which is why most knuckle crackers can only produce one pop per

While the process of releasing nitrogen bubbles through knuckle cracking
is considered relatively harmless, it can lead to some stiffness,
swelling and pain around the joints over time. Because of the
similarities between arthritis and habitual knuckle cracking symptoms,
it is easy to understand how the two conditions could become intertwined
in a person's mind. While arthritis is a chronic condition which often
requires years of treatment, the effects of habitual knuckle cracking
are generally temporary and can be reduced significantly once the habit
is broken.

Sanjohan - www.sanjohan.com <http://www.sanjohan.com> 
E-mail: info at sanjohan.com <mailto:info at sanjohan.com> 
Tel: +27 21 873 7124
Fax: +27 21 873 7124

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