Knuckle-cracking is good for you, according to a new study. So all the aunts and grannies out there, who have been pushing the folk belief, which says that the popping of joints, especially knuckles, leads to arthritis are wrong.
Moreover, they were probably telling people to quit it because they hated the sharp cracking or popping sound. Believe it or not, Dr. Robert Szabo, who conducted the study, was forced to do so because he wanted to strangle Tanya Johnson, a nurse, who has been working with him for over 15 years and who just can not stop cracking her knuckles.
Johnson has always told her boss that what she was doing was not bad, and he claimed otherwise. Dr. Szabo, who is a hand surgeon at the UC Davis Medical Center and former president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, decided to conduct a study to prove his point.
Szabo worked with his friend and colleague, Dr. Robert Boutin, a radiologist at UC Davis, on the research. The doctors gathered a group of knuckle-cracking people, including Johnson, who was more than happy to be there.
The duo shared their findings in December at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Their study has not been published. The duo explained that to their great surprise, there is nothing wrong with cracking joints. In fact, after looking at the ultrasounds of 400 knuckles, they learned that crackers have more joints that get more range of motion. They wrote in their paper:
“When a knuckle was cracked, there was a distinctive and sudden flash in the joint.
We think what’s happening is that when you crack a knuckle, you’re pulling apart two surfaces of the joint, which brings down the pressure in the joint.
That negative pressure allows gas that’s dissolved in the fluid in your joints to be liberated, and the bright flash is a gas bubble forming.”
The research received a lot of traction, according to Dr. Boutin, he shared:
“We heard from a lot of people, and while some said knuckle cracking was relieving and helpful, just as many found it disgusting.”
The health expert said the reason why people tell crackers that what they are doing will lead to long-term joint problems is that they hate the sound and want them to stop. Dr. Szabo said he can longer talk to his nurse about her knuckles, even though he still hates the sound. He explained:
“It’s just my personal opinion, but I got the feeling that some of these people felt so grossed out by it that they created these myths.”
It will be interesting to see if this new study will be able to beat the myth.