Crumble your knuckles? Here's something you really have to know

Crumble your knuckles? Heres something you really have to know

We may not know it, but some activities— although we may do it in an absent-minded way— may lead to future health concerns.

We may not know it, but some activities— although we may do it in an absent-minded way— may lead to future health concerns. According to Dr. Ravichandra Kelkar, an orthopedic specialist, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal is cracking the knuckles of one such habit.

"Statistics have shown that up to 54 per cent of people are cracking their knuckles. It becomes, over time, an involuntary reflex that does not take much effort," he says, while citing a few reasons why people continue to do so:

▪︎Few people just like the sound that cracking knuckles makes while others like the way it feels.

▪︎few people think knuckles cracking gives more space in the joint, relieving discomfort and increasing mobility.

▪︎ few more people start to crack their knuckles when anxious or stressed out.

How the' cracking' sound comes up?

Known for the pop sound that comes when the knuckles are broken there are not very specific reasons. "Some attribute it to either forming or bursting nitrogen bubbles in the joint fluid while others assume it comes from the ligaments moving around the knuckle. The tendons or muscles that pass over the joint may cause the sound too," he says.

When a person has arthritis or other health-related bone / joint problems then it is recommended that they stop cracking their knuckles.

How does it cause any side effects?

Dr Kelkar points out that the cracking of knuckles has no major concerns. He adds, however, that if the cracking is painful, it can cause swelling or change the joint form, then it can be a cause of concern as it may be due to gout or arthritis underlying.

There are also chances in rare scenarios that the finger is pulled out of the joint or the ligaments around the joint being injured, he says.

When do you need to see a doctor?

So long as the joint form has no discomfort or swelling or shift, there's no reason to worry. But if any of these symptoms occur or the finger seems to be bent or swollen, then the doctor will examine it. The joint pain or swelling is usually caused by an underlying condition and should be checked.

Usually the noises that come from the joints are not a worrisome symptom, but if that persists with pain over a long period of time, then it could be an issue.

Pain or swelling followed by cracking or popping could also be a symptom of:

Meniscus tears: The meniscus is a rubbery C-shaped disc that cushions the knee and absorbs shock, but sometimes twisting or other sudden, harsh movements can lead to its tear.

Cartilage wear or injury: The cartilage that covers the bones can sometimes get injured and cause a piece to break off and a catch in the joint.

Are these relevant to arthritis?

Cracking or popping in a usual scenario does not damage the joints nor does it symbolize the initial stages of arthritis. But a worn cartilage in the joints, or rubbing the bones together, can sometimes cause pain.

Nonetheless, if a person has pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or other health-related bone / joint conditions then it is recommended that they stop cracking their knuckles.

Those with weak bones should not get into the habit either. Repetitive cracking can potentially turn into a bother.

Often, cracking was seen to be socially annoying and a detrimental nuisance to people around you.

Few tips that could be used to break the habit of cracking are:

▪︎Be careful and notice when you are likely to knuckle, or why. Next time address which causes knuckling in a similar scenario.

▪︎When stress causes you to crack then come with solutions for yourself to relieve the tension by deep breathing, exercise, or meditation.

▪︎Many people often recommend putting a rubber band on the wrist when the habit is too ingrained, and popping it if one is about to break the knuckles.

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