Cracking your knuckles is unhealthy, according to doctors

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/19/cracking-your-knuckles-is-unhealthy-according-to-doctors.html

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Mom was right. And would it hurt you to call her more often?

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Can’t do it. Ruined fingers from cracking knuckles. :slightly_smiling_face:

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“Knuckle cracking over the years will cause repetitive trauma to the joints and cartilage,” Seattle neurosurgeon Rod Oskouian told … but Oskouian said the mechanics are similar to a chiropractor’s “adjustment” of the spine, which also elicits a cracking sound.

ipso-facto-quatly-quat: Dr Oskouian hereby declares war upon the entire chiropractic industry and all the subluxations therein!

(in other news) Why does cracking the knuckles feel like it reduces the resistance making painless nimble finger movements [cracks knuckles before attempting a Bach partita] much more likely? (no sir… i call questionable!)

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Nothing in that article struck me as causal. Do knuckle-poppers damage their cartilage, or does damaged cartilage lead one to want to crack their knuckles?

My hands are swollen from an unusual amount of manual labor last week. My fingers didn’t have their full range when I woke up this morning, so I popped them. Now they do. :man_shrugging:

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Of course, I could not resist cracking my knuckles when I read the headline.

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Ah, this old chestnut. Is it bad for you this time? Every so often, when there are column inches to fill, some news source will publish the new reason why knuckle cracking is horrible for you/harmless. It tends to oscillate like the tides. Wait a few years. There’ll be a new study indicating that it’s just fine.

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I love it when a plan comes together!

What if I crack them while drinking wine and eating chocolate? (Already drinking wine, I guess the coffee will have to be an enema…)

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I crack my knuckles, wrist, elbows, shoulders, clavicles, neck, spine all the way down to my coccyx, right down to my toes. Have done all my life, it seems to free up range of motion, and I’ve experienced no ill effects to date. I seem to be fairly limber for a guy my age, don’t know if it is related. Yes, the singular of data is not anecdote, but this report does not ring true.

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Yeah, but I hope she wasn’t right about when I make ‘that face’ it would get stuck that way.

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Is it unfair for me to doubt this guy because he’s a neuroscientist? That particular field seems rife with woo-worshippers and assertions with scant evidence. I’m with Donald Unger - I haven’t seen any ill effects from cracking my knuckles, so I don’t see any reason to stop.

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Are neuroscientists the new physicists, or are they just physicists for medicine?

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There was a doctor that ran an experiment where he cracked the fingers on his left hand, and did not crack the fingers on his right hand to see if there was any difference in how he developed arthritis.

He did this for 60 years before he wrote his report. That, my friends, is dedication.

His results showed no difference. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/crack-research/

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Counterpoint: my left index finger is permanently painful at the knuckle (and almost unpoppable) after a lifetime of cracking it. Age 42.

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Yeah. Nothing I have read about joint cracking matches up with my experience. Cracked joints move smoother and feel better–not just knuckles, I used to have 70 joints that I could crack, but the decades have taken away some of the flexibility, some of those won’t crack anymore.

My thought, also–are they simply seeing whatever it is that causes some of us to feel better with cracked joints?

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Neurosurgeons aren’t the same thing as neuroscientists, and neurosurgery does tend to be an evidence-based practice. Still, I don’t know why this guy is being treated as an authority in a field not his own, and I would have expected him to understand the difference between correlation and causation by now.

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Every single rhumatologist I met (and with psoriasic arthritis starting in my 20s, i’ve seen a few) assured me it was harmless.

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It will both cause and cure cancer:

Just please don’t do wine enema, it may result in sprained ankle while falling from the toilet, at least according to a video on the internet.

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same here. so now we have TWO (anecdotal) data points, right?

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Pretty soon it’ll be a movement.