Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Is Knuckle Cracking Bad for You?

Posted by Michael Dickens on June 1, 2010

In life, one often runs into claims that many people make, but aren’t necessarily true. One such claim is the ostensible harm caused by knuckle cracking. Some say that it leads to arthritis, while others say that this claim is bogus. What’s the truth?

I found plenty of websites claiming one thing or the other, but I don’t really trust websites. You can put whatever you want onto one of those. So I did some more detailed research, and came across interesting results.

Using Google Scholar, I found several research papers regarding the effects of knuckle cracking. The consensus seemed to be that it does not cause arthritis. The most useful paper I found was published in the British Medical Journal. It found that knuckle cracking does not cause arthritis, but most likely does lead to reduction in finger dexterity.

So there you have it. Cracking your knuckles won’t lead to anything as severe as arthritis, but it may lead to loss of finger dexterity so it really should be discouraged.


3 Responses to “Is Knuckle Cracking Bad for You?”

  1. Matt Helm said

    And now I know. But really, couldn’t you have just looked it up on snopes?

    • 1. Snopes, reliable as it may be, just can’t compete with the British Medical Journal in terms of credibility.

      2. I did, after I wrote this article, and it wasn’t there.

  2. phynnboi said

    I crack my fingers several times per day and have since I was in grade school, yet I can type 100 WPM on the Devil’s Layout (a.k.a. Qwerty). So, my finger dexterity seems to be fine. (Or maybe it’s that I’ve used such a demanding layout for nearly as long that has kept up my dexterity? Maybe using better-than-Qwerty layouts should be discouraged? 😀 )

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