By Omobola Kougbe
An expert from the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital has said cracking one’s knuckles habitually damages the hand. Dr. Mohammed Abdullahi, on Wednesday, told journalists that such may cause swelling on the hand, lower grip strength, knuckle pads, and injuries.
Abdullahi stated that although some people experience “therapeutic release” when they crack their knucles, the potential damage is greater than any psychological benefit.
“Habitual knuckle cracking is linked with hand swelling and reduced grip strength, suggesting that repeated act might gradually damage soft tissue in the hand.
“In some cases, the desire to crack could be an attempt to ease ligament stress that is already present,” he said.
He, however, said that it’s not related to arthritis, but could lead to dislocation of fingers and overstretched ligaments. He explained that knuckles are surrounded by a membrane called the synovial membrane, which forms a capsule around the bone ends.
“When you crack your knuckles, or any other joint, it expands the space between your bones, creating negative pressure that draws synovial fluid into the new gap.
“This influx of synovial fluid is what causes the popping sound and feeling when you crack a knuckle.
“If you continually crack your knuckles, the synovial membrane and the surrounding ligaments will loosen, making it easier and easier for your joints to crack,” he stated.
The expert advised that knuckle cracking should not be frequent in order to avoid long term damage to the joints.