While knuckle-cracking may seem like an annoying habit, that drives friends, partners, family members, and co-workers crazy, a recent study reveals there just may be some a positive associated with it. While the study has yet to be published, it was presented at the Radiological Society of North America, in late 2015.
The study brought together 40 adults (23 males, 17 females), all healthy, ranging from 18 years of age to 63. Their knuckles were reviewed via an ultrasound, before and after, they cracked their knuckles. Out of the 40 participants, 30 had a long history of knuckle-cracking, while 10 of these individuals did not.
As it turns out, those with the knuckle-cracking habit didn’t end up having any issues with their hands as a result of the habit; in fact, the habit actually enhanced motion range for individuals right after the engaged in the knuckle-crack, versus those who did not crack their knuckles at all.
Interestingly enough, when researches reviewed the approximate 400 knuckles in the ultrasound, they noticed an instant flash that took place in the joint. What seems to be happening is that when an individual pulls apart the two surfaces of this joint, it decreases the pressure in that area. The negative pressure helps the dissolving gas within the fluids in the joints release, thus creating a bubbling gas formation, that appears to be a flash. The end result? A decrease in pressure, that allows for an increase in motion, after you crack your knuckles.
So, while there is a myth that seems to linger about knuckle-cracking being bad for you, the truth is, it’s actually good. Perhaps the origins of it simply came from the cracking noise; that seems to disgust anyone, but the knuckle-cracker themselves!
Still, one cannot ignore a study that was release in 1990, that revealed knuckle-cracking can create an increased chance in lower-grip strength in the hand, as well as swelling of the hand.
CNN reported that researchers within in this study, have been able to find some flaws in the last study, conducted well over two decades ago. First, if the researchers in the 1990 study knew who cracked their knuckles, and who didn’t, this could’ve created a bias within their evaluations (the study does not indicate this either way). Secondly, the research team from the past study did not reveal how they assessed the grip strength and hand swelling.
Still, the team of this 2015 research study also point out, that their study only dives into short-term knuckle-cracking benefits, and does not look into anything long-term. They go to state that in the next few years, another study might come along, that contradicts their results.