Cracking the Myth: The Truth About Knuckle Popping and Joint Health


Popping knuckles is one thing that a lot of us like, in fact some people do it when they want to bully others, giving the bullied the interpretation that they are going to lose their bones when they are done beating them up. If you are not a bully, then there is a high chance that you do it for fun. Either ways, you must have heard that popping the fingers can cause arthritis and then you wonder if this is true or not. Well, worry less because I will be sharing with you if this is true or not.

The finger is made up of the metacarpophalangeal joints at the beginning of the fingers, and just beyond the joint are the interphalangeal joints. Both joints are part of the joints known as the Diarthrosis joints or the Synovial joints. If the joint is a movable joint, then it i a synovial joint and they usually pop. Popping can as a result of tissues moving above one another known as Crepitus, and there can be abnormal popping but I am talking about joint cracking sounds when they move.

The synovial joint is made up of fibrous membrane in the outside, and is made up of tendon that runs through the fingers, going through the muscle belly to the forearm. Around the joint is the fibrous membrane, which is the membrane that covers the metacarpophalangeal joints which joins the metacarpal bones and the phalenxes. Close to the joint is the synovial membrane which produces synovial fluid which is a lubricating fluid that works with the hyaline cartilage to lubricate the joint.

In this fluid are dissolved gasses which includes hydrogen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen. It is important to know that the fluid which have the dissolved gasses are enclosed and when we try to push or move our fingers in a way that they pup, we are changing the space inside increasing the volume and decreasing the pressure. When this is done, cavitation occurs and it this causes bubbles. The formation of these bubbles leads to the sound that we hear, and it is important to know that it is not the bursting of the bubbles that causes the sound.

Current evidence suggests that this bubble formation and subsequent popping sound are not harmful. Therefore, we can generally consider knuckle popping to be safe. It's worth noting that these bubbles take about 15 minutes to dissipate. While studies haven't shown any significant damage associated with popping joints, it's crucial to avoid forcing your joints into unnatural positions, as incorrect popping could potentially harm the joints.

While the act of popping your knuckles is not inherently harmful and doesn’t lead to arthritis, it's important to be mindful of how you're doing it. Avoid overextending or forcefully manipulating your joints to ensure that this common habit doesn't lead to unintended joint issues. The next time you decide to pop your fingers, you should be certain that you are creating bubbles in the synovial fluid in your joint. Also be certain that the popping knuckles and causing arthritis is false.


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