Does Popping Your Knuckles Really Cause Arthritis?


This is a picture of someone popping their knuckles.

Seoul Bishoff, Senior Reporter

What causes popping?

Have you ever gotten yelled at or scolded not to pop your knuckles by your parents? Well, I’m about to prove them wrong (sorry parent’s I know you like to be right). Popping your knuckles is not in any way associated with arthritis. But I bet you want the answer you’ve just been dying to hear, why do knuckles pop? Guess what… nobody knows! Now there are some theories about why they might pop, but nobody knows the exact reason.There are several theories of this topic but I will share one. The Synovial (a type of joint that’s surrounded by a thick flexible membrane) fluid bubbles and cavitation (empty space inside of a solid object or body) theory. The Synovial fluid bubbles and cavitation theory suggests that when a finger or joint is extended, the pressure inside the finger is lowered and the gases in the finger (like carbon dioxide), are released in the form of a bubble. This theory suggests that popping joints creates a vacuum that the gases then fill. Then, when joints are extended through pulling or popping, there is a sudden and dramatic increase in surrounding pressure.This causes a sudden partial or total collapse of these gas bubbles, and this collapse is heard as popping or cracking.

What happens when they’re popped over time?


There are no relations between arthritis and popping your knuckles, but popping your knuckles does cause swollen tissue around the joints. Though popping your knuckles is completely harmless, it is quite addictive. For example, I’ve been popping my knuckles at least every day since 4th or 5th grade, and my knuckles are completely fine! Popping your knuckles over time could (but probably won’t) do a little bit of joint damage, but it definitely won’t give you arthritis.


What really causes arthritis?


Arthritis is caused by your bodies immune system attacking the tissues. Arthritis is mostly caused by an infection or injury. Some early signs of arthritis can include, fatigue, morning sickness, pain, joint stiffness, swelling, and limited motion. There are some ways to help lower your chance of getting arthritis, but it isn’t completely guaranteed (you could still get it no matter what you do). Eating fish is a good way to help prevent arthritis. Fish contains an acid called omega-3; omega-3 is also good for preventing heart disease. Avoiding injury: this is pretty self explanatory, just don’t do stupid things you’ll regret. Exercise is another good way to lower your risk, but exercise is also just good for you in general, if you want to stay in shape… exercise, do you want to lower your chance of getting heart disease… exercise. But in all seriousness, exercise is good for lowering your chance of getting arthritis.



To wrap it all up, we know that no one really knows what causes your knuckles to pop, but there are several theories about it. Arthritis is in no way related to popping your knuckles, and is actually caused by your bodies immune system attacking the tissue. Last but not least, eating fish, exercise, and making smart choices could significantly reduce your risk of getting arthritis.

Here is a link to prove my point: Don’t be fooled this is a link, I promise