Cracking your knuckles makes you sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies and never goes over well in church. While it's painful for everyone around you to hear, you're not doing any harm to your joints, bones, or muscles when you crack-unless it hurts when you crack them. It's just caused by the high-pressure suction of gas being expelled when your joints move apart. If it hurts when your knuckles or knees crack, you need to see your doctor to assess what kind of joint damage you may have.
Arthritis Causes & Risks
1 AnswerArthritis is not just a disease that affects older people. Two-thirds of individuals with arthritis are under the age of 65, including an estimated 300,000 children. Of the more than 50 million Americans with arthritis, more than 36 million are white, more than 4.6 million are African-American and 2.9 million are Hispanic, says the Arthritis Foundation.
Moreover, arthritis is not just about common aches and pains.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease marked by the breakdown of joint cartilage. Its risk factors include obesity, being overweight or having a history of joint injury. Symptoms of osteoarthritis most often develop gradually and include:
- joint aching and soreness, especially with movement
- pain after overuse or after long periods of inactivity
- stiffness after periods of rest
- bony enlargements in the middle and end joints of the fingers (which may or may not be painful)
- joint swelling
Juvenile arthritis is a broad term used to describe many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger.
Risk factors for arthritis can vary depending on the type, but in general, certain things may increase your risk. Genetics may play a role in the development of certain types of arthritis, so if your family members have arthritis, you're more likely to develop it. Women are more likely than men to develop many types of arthritis. Also, any kind of excessive stress or injury to the joints may increase the risk of developing arthritis, so people who are overweight or who play sports are often at a higher risk. Age also plays a role in the development of some types of arthritis, so being over the age of 40 may increase your risk.
5 AnswersMost arthritis is caused by use and the slow gradual compromise of the joint tissues due to chronic inflammation. This type of arthritis is termed osteoarthritis and generally occurs at an older age. There are other causes of arthirits including autoimmune arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthrits from infections, and gout arthritis to name a few that can happen earlier in a patient's life.
1 AnswerDr. Christopher W. Hodgkins, MD , Orthopedic Surgery, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South FloridaIn arthritis of the midfoot, the joints of the midfoot can begin to wear out for a variety of reasons. If they are injured by a fall, a twist or a crush accident, progressive degeneration of the joints can begin. Sometimes an individual’s foot anatomy places more pressure on one portion of the foot, causing a joint to wear. In addition, small amounts of loosening of the joints or slight flattening of the foot can begin the degeneration toward arthritis.
3 AnswersAlberta Scruggs , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
Everyone is different and may / may not experience aggravation from the intake of a particluar food. However, studies indicate the following foods tend to trigger arthritis and fibromyalgia:
- Acidic ("nightshade") foods seem to trigger pain: Chocolate, tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers, red meat, sugar, carbonated drinks and drinks containing alcohol.
- Fried foods may aggravate pain and swelling.
- Caffeinated containing foods have the potential to increase the elimination of water that may be needed by your body to help flush away toxins and minimize episodes of swelling.
- Cow-milk products may trigger increased episodes of fatigue.
- Foods with added sugar tend to compromise the ability of your body to absorb essential vitamins and mineral.
1 AnswerDr. Anthony L. Komaroff, MD , Internal Medicine, answeredProbably not. However, there are some important details that may change my answer:
- What type of arthritis runs in the family? There are more than 100 types, some of which are at least partly genetic.
- How old were the family members when they developed arthritis? The younger they were, the more likely that it's a condition that may be inherited.
- Has the distance running been associated with injuries? If so, this may increase the risk of arthritis (with or without a family history of arthritis).
Also, there are many variables that affect a person's risk of arthritis and the likelihood they would become a runner. For example, people who gain significant weight may be less likely to run regularly. And they are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knees and hips. As a result, non-runners might seem to be at higher risk of arthritis than runners even if the risk of arthritis is not directly related to running.
As far as I know, the impact of family history on long-term arthritis risk associated with competitive distance running has not been well studied. Research in the mid-1990s, however, did find that older runners had less disability related to arthritis than non-runners, even after accounting for a family history of arthritis.
In my view, a family history of arthritis is not a reason to avoid distance running. But, the details matter.
Find out more about this book:Harvard Medical School Arthritis: Keeping your joints healthy
1 AnswerDr. Grant Cooper, MD , Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, answeredPeople who are obese have a significantly increased risk of developing arthritis, because obesity is an important source of chronic microtrauma to the cartilage. Joints are designed for carrying, properly distributing, and cushioning body weight. They are also capable of taking on temporary excess loads. For example, stress on the joints is greatly increased when we carry groceries, lift weights, bend over, or run up stairs. However, joints do have limits.
Each step you take while walking involves temporarily transferring your weight primarily onto one joint. When you factor in momentum, biomechanics, and gravity, your knees and hips experience up to three times as much pressure as your body weight with each step. If you weigh 140 pounds, your knee joints may experience as much as 320 pounds of weight with each step. When you walk down a flight of stairs, your hip and knee joints may experience as much as a six-fold increase in weight, so that same 140-pound person experiences as much as 640 pounds across the knees and hips.
In other words, every pound you gain punishes your joints up to six-fold. Research clearly bears this out; overweight men are five times more likely to develop arthritis, and overweight women are four times more likely to develop it than are their non-overweight counterparts. For every 10 pounds of excess weight gain, the risk of developing arthritis increases by 40 percent. Every time you take a step, the extra weight places increased pressure on your weight-bearing joints, because the load is too great for your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The joints shift under the weight and, ultimately, they are overwhelmed, resulting in repetitive microtears in the cartilage. Additional stresses are taken up by static portions of your bone, creating friction. Your bone responds by trying to build new bone, but the new bone is weaker than the original bone, and the process of arthritis is well on its way.