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Can cracking my knuckles cause arthritis?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

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.

YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...
Keith J. Santiago, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
The sound you hear when you pop your knuckles is gas moving from between your joints. In this video, orthopedist Keith Santiago, of Lowcountry Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, discusses what happens when you pop your knuckles.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.