Does Cracking Your Knuckles Actually Cause Arthritis? We Asked a Doctor

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You may have grown up hearing that cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis, but is that actually true? Family physician Dr. Jen Caudle says her patients ask this question all the time—so she’s finally setting the record straight.  

FAQ: Does cracking knuckles actually cause arthritis? 

"Cracking knuckles isn’t a great habit, but it probably won’t raise your risk for arthritis," Dr. Jen says.  

"That’s the conclusion of several studies that compared rates of hand arthritis among habitual knuckle crackers and people who don’t crack their knuckles," she adds.  

"When it comes to the sound your knuckles make when you crack them, when you crack your knuckles, it increases the space between your joints and hands. And gas bubbles that are in those spaces will actually pop or be crushed, and that’s the sound you hear," Dr. Caudle explains.  

Dr. Caudle also addresses other FAQs on the best way to clean a wound, feeding a cold, starving a fever, using Q-tips to clean ear wax, swimming after eating and gargling with salt water for a sore throat

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