Main Street Chiropractic

Hi I'm Dr. Carl Zaycosky, and this is my way of sharing the resources, insight, and experience I've gained in my years as a chiropractor. I hope they help you chart a course toward whole body health.

Cracking Knuckles Part 1

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I get this question a lot especially among the mother’s of teen age children. It goes something like this, “My son/daughter is always cracking his/her knuckles, that can’t be good can it? “ I’m not going to keep you in suspense in as is my approach with my other blogs. The answer is.  It’s not, however it does not do any harm. It’s basically an annoying habit that I’ve seen described as a tension release. I’m not convinced that’s entirely the case. Though I’m sure those of us who are subjected to being around people who habitually crack their knuckles can agree it is annoying.

The term for cracking your knuckles,  or for that matter any joint that makes a popping sound is cavitation. Here’s why you hear a popping sound when you crack your knuckles and for that matter your spinal joints when they are adjusted by your chiropractor. The sound is produced by increasing the space in the joint specifically a structure called the capsule. Increasing this enclosed space produces a negative pressure which causes the tiny gas bubbles (mainly carbon dioxide and nitrogen) to burst. Kind of like pulling an inflated balloon apart until it busts.

For you “knuckle crackers” you may have noticed when you crack your knuckle if you try to do it again it won’t pop. This is because it takes time for the gas bubbles to form again in the joint. Don’t worry about this gas bubbles traveling to your brain or lungs and causing all kinds of problems. It doesn’t work that way.

Up next will be the research. Yes, there is extensive research on knuckle cracking.


Your local Chiropractor,


Dr. Z. 

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