Cracking your knuckles really is all that it’s cracked up to be.
A recent study reveals that the long-held fears of this joint-popping practice leading to arthritis, swelling or lower grip strength are out of hand. In fact, your crack habit actually leads to an increased range of motion — sort of like yoga for your knuckles.
Researchers studied the ultrasounds of 40 subjects’ hands both pre- and post-crack, and compared them to the knuckle scans of people who don’t crack. Some participants admitted to popping their joints up to 20 times per day for the past 40 years!
Turns out, the knuckle-crackers didn’t have any hand problems. There was no immediate pain, swelling or disability in the knuckle-cracking group, and no immediate difference in the strength of their grip. In fact, they had an increased range of motion over the uncracked knuckles.
The study, which has not been published yet, was presented in a December meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The authors recognize that “further research will need to be done to assess any long-term hazard — or benefit — of knuckle cracking.”
But in the meantime, people have a new lease to snap, crackle and pop their fingers with reckless abandon. Thanks, science!