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Does Cracking Knuckles Cause Arthritis?

At Arthritis and Osteoporosis Treatment Center, it’s our goal to prevent arthritis pain and symptoms at the earliest stages. We want to help you prevent disability, so you can continue enjoying all the activities you love. 

Many of our patients ask if they should avoid cracking their knuckles to protect their hands from arthritis. We always want to bring you the best advice and latest treatments, so read on as we break down myth from fact around this common question.

Does Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis?

Does knuckle cracking cause arthritis? No, the act of cracking your knuckles cannot directly cause rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is important to note that individuals with a specific type of arthritis known as osteoarthritis may experience negative effects from knuckle cracking. 

Knuckle cracking releases gas bubbles from the synovial fluid in your hands, which lubricates the joints. When these gas bubbles suddenly move, it causes the popping sound you hear. While the habit itself may not lead to arthritis, it can potentially worsen existing joint damage and inflammation in individuals with osteoarthritis.

What is Osteoarthritis? 

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and affects the hips, knees, feet and spine. This form of arthritis typically affects older adults, usually in relation to “wear and tear” on the body and joints that has occurred over time. 

The condition causes the cartilage between your bones to gradually wear out, resulting in painful friction and damage to your bones. Osteoarthritis can result in joint stiffness, severe pain and swelling, and loss of mobility as it progresses. That’s why patients with this condition should try not to crack their knuckles in order to protect their joints.

How to Prevent Arthritis in Hands

Preventing arthritis in your hands involves adopting healthy habits and making proactive lifestyle choices. Although cracking your knuckles might not directly cause arthritis, it is still beneficial to minimize stress on your joints. Here are a few tips to help you prevent arthritis in your hands:

Maintain a Healthy Weight 

Excess weight can put a strain on your joints, increasing the risk of developing arthritis. Maintain a balanced diet and engage in regular exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Protect Your Hands

Wear protective gear, such as gloves, when engaging in activities like sports, recreational activities or household chores that could potentially injure your hands or put stress on your joints.

Exercise Regularly

Engage in exercises that encourage joint flexibility, strength and range of motion. Consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist to develop an exercise plan tailored to your needs.

Practice Joint-Friendly Techniques

When performing repetitive tasks like typing, cooking or gardening, use proper techniques and comfortable tools to reduce stress on your hands and joints.

Is Rheumatoid Arthritis a Disability?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of arthritis that typically affects the hands, wrists, shoulders and knees. While there is no known cause of rheumatoid arthritis, this autoimmune disorder occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue and cells within your body. 

The chronic condition harms the lining of your joints and causes bone erosion as a result of constant swelling and inflammation. Other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include fatigue, weakness and joint stiffness that worsens as the condition progresses.

The severity of RA can vary from person to person based on symptoms and its impact on your daily life. No matter the type or form of arthritis you have, the severity of your symptoms can cause disability in many aspects of your life.

If you suspect you may have rheumatoid arthritis or are experiencing persistent joint pain and stiffness, consult your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and guidance on managing your condition.

Do You Have Arthritis? [Quiz]

If you are suffering from symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, or fatigue, you may be experiencing rheumatoid arthritis. Take our online quiz to find out if it’s time to discuss your symptoms and treatment options with the Jacksonville, FL arthritis doctors at AOTC.

Schedule an Appointment at Our Orange Park Office in Jacksonville, Florida

At Arthritis and Osteoporosis Treatment Center, our experienced Jacksonville rheumatologists will provide you with a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. To schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist, contact our arthritis treatment center today.