i am currently playing on a division I football team as a receiver. what are the short term effects of knuckle cracking? because the usage of hands are such an essential part of life, i’m sure many american’s who crack their knuckles wonder if the pressure effects performance. as a receiver, i crack my knuckles because it gives me a feeling of flexibility and looseness. will this in actuality cause my joints to stiff up or become more flexible? … more weak or strong … will it effect my ability to catch the ball? this applies to all walks of life, whether playing the piano, shooting a basketball, writing an essay or even regarding a typer’s speed!

I did a Google search for “damage joint knuckle cracking” and turned up this:

Knuckle cracking: key to a better life, or the road to a living hell?

But that’s just one web page, it might be worth doing a little more research.

Cecil Adams discusses knuckle cracking here:


Plus, it means there aren’t enough capital letters left for the body of the post.

Awww, ease up on the kid you guys - he’s new.

Welcome to the Straight Dope, Erwin Deja Wu. Don’t let these others get you down. They’re just annoyed because posting in all caps looks like you’re SHOUTING in the library.

thanx, and fagboy, im sorrie i dont’ know proper message board etiquette

but i guess nodody knows the answer to my knuckle question … :frowning: i thought that’s what this site is for, o well, whata shame

Erwin, woah! Name-calling is not necessary here. stuyguy was a little harsh, but there’s no need to start a fight. This board is a great place to have fun and find information. Give it a chance, but you want to be careful with your language here. The only place where flames are allowed is the Barbecue Pit.

Your question was answered. The answer so far is: “maybe”. We have several medical doctors on the board. Perhaps one of them will post an answer more to your liking. Have patience.

I’d like to second the caution by Kamandi regarding the name-calling (and I’m sure a Mod will be in here soon to third it).

The best thing I ever read on the topic of knuckle-cracking was a letter to the editor of a rheumatology medical journal written by a devoted knuckle-cracker/rheumatologist (doctor who treats arthritis (autoimmune and non-autoimmune), as well as other autoimmune disorders).

He wrote that his habitual knuckle-cracking bugged the heck out his wife and MIL, both of whom told him he should know better and that if he continues he’ll get arthritis. He decided to do an experiment. For ten years, he cracked only the knuckles of one hand, leaving the other to serve as the control. After this, he noted no changes consistent with arthritic degeneration in the abused hand.

Anyway, I’ve never read anything suggesting that knuckle-cracking damages joints. Although I have read that over-zealous (undertrained?) chiropractors can.

Last year in Anatomy class, we took a field trip to a college of chiropractic. We were informed of an experiment done on senior citizens. One group cracked their knuckles several times a day, one group cracked their knuckles a few times a day, and one group didn’t crack their knuckles at all. After a while, it was shown that those who cracked their knuckles a few times a day had the least amount of arthritis cases. The lesson is that you should crack your knuckles, but only a few times a day.

P.S. In regard to the “fagguy” name, homosexual terms used as insults certainly aren’t looked upon kindly around here. Don’t try to argue that words such as “gay” have gained another definition (that definition being “stupid” or “lame”); it’s been done to death with no results in your favor.

It’s evident that you don’t. I don’t give a damn about capital letters, but you may not call anyone “fagboy” here. Please don’t do it again.

moderator GQ

sigh … read the FIRST thread. what are the short term effects!?

im new, sorrie, but really biblioghage, repeating what someone already said is unnecessary. okae cooldood? now answer my question!! what are the short term effects of knuckle cracking?

and my quesiton still hasn’t been answered “…what are the short term effects of knuckle cracking …” that’s the only reason i stumbled across this site, b/c i was looking for an answer to short term effects. i’ve read all the articles and research. Arthritis and knuckle cracking are in some cases and aren’t related in others. but what ARE the short term effects. if you don’t know then forget it.

hey guys! … what are the short term effects of knuckle cracking? nm

Betcha I can guess what the short-term effects of this posting style are.:wink:


Erwin baby, relax. Chill dude. Reason we ain’t dun tol’ you yet is that we gotsta make sure you’re ready fer the ansah. We worry that you are young and impressionable and wouldn’t want to drop a bombshell on you without knowing that you can handle it. You sound determined to know, and since this site is about fighting ignorance and all, I guess I’ll give it up. Read on at your own peril. You’ve been warned.

The truth about the short term effects of knuckle-cracking is that it



(hey, what happened to the formatting??)


Erwin - bibliophage wasn’t just repeating what others have said. bibliophage is a Moderator for these boards, and that, my friend, was an official warning!

Cool down, and you will enjoy your time here.

You have had an answer to your question, and that answer was - no-one really knows. Not all medical questions have answers (Hey, what’s the cure for cancer?) and this appears to be one of them.

Is this where Erwin quotes choosy’s whole post without trimming it down?

Erwin, as an experienced knuckle cracker (over 16 years of cracking experience) I have noticed no short-term effects of this uniquely annoying and gratifying vice.

Now that your question has been answered, go forth and learn some ettiquete.

Knuckle cracking makes the baby Jesus cry.

Is that the answer you wanted?