Ever wonder where the ‘snap, crackle and pop’ sound comes from when you crack your knuckles?
The answer may surprise you.
What actually does the ‘popping’ is not the bones or the joints themselves, but the little capsules of liquid that lie in between the bones. It’s called “synovial fluid”.
When we pull or bend our fingers beyond their natural limits, the bones and joints pull apart. The ‘synovial capsule’ is then stretched. Because of its expansion, the pressure in the synovial fluid decreases. With that bubbles quickly form, expand and then burst.
The “burst of the bubble” is what we are hearing during a knuckle crack.
The ultimate question you are probably asking…
“Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis like my mom once told me?”
Well, your mother was probably making assumptions…either that or she was a bit grossed-out by the whole thing and just wanted it to stop.
After many tests, there is no clear evidence that cracking knuckles causes arthritis. There is however some evidence suggesting that grip-strength may slightly decrease for habitual knuckle-crackers.
What the popping does seem to do is increase mobility in joints.
It is of course possible to crack many other joints other than our knuckles – Eg. back, neck, hips, wrists, shoulders, toes, ankles, etc.
I suppose this is why we have chiropractors – The true masters of “synovial bubble popping”.