Saturday, 16 March 2013

Health : Can Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis?

Feel free to kick this habit for the sake of your cubicle mates, but don't do it out of fear for your joints. The reasoning behind this old wives' tale is that the cracking damages the joints, increasing your risk for the disease, says Scott Zashin, M.D., a clinical associate professor of rheumatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. But according to a study published in the Annals of theRheumatic Diseases, those who cracked their knuckles weren't at any greater risk of developing arthritis than those who didn't.

Knuckle-crackers aren't totally in the clear, though. The same researchers found that this group was more likely to have less grip strength. "When you crack, the joint stretches apart and fills with fluid and tiny air bubbles that burst, making that popping sound," says Zashin. Over time, this regular pulling may loosen the tendons that connect muscles to the bone, resulting in weaker hands. "It's likely a minimal effect," he says, "but I'd drop the habit if you can."

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