Growing up, most people heard the elders in our family say, “stop cracking your knuckles because it’ll cause arthritis!” Without fully understanding the impact of arthritis, it was clear that we didn’t want it. The saying put the fear of God in us – we wanted and needed our fingers!
Does cracking your knuckles cause arthritis?
So, what is arthritis, and can cracking your knuckles cause it? Arthritis is tenderness and swelling of more than one joint. The main symptoms include stiffness, pain, numbing, loss of alignment, fever, chronic fatigue, and loss of motion as arthritis worsens over time.
Also, arthritis isn’t specific to solely fingers, but it can happen anywhere in the body where joints and tendons are connected – for example, arthritis in the jaw, shoulder, knees, etc., you get the point.
The three most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. The Mayo Clinic and Health Direct explain the two types as follows:
“Osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to a joint’s cartilage — the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones where they form a joint.
Cartilage cushions the ends of the bones and allows nearly frictionless joint motion, but enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts.
This lining (synovial membrane) becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.
Gout is a type of arthritis leading to painful joint inflammation. The big toe is most commonly