NPR reported the age old noise of knuckle cracking does not cause arthritis, and may actually be good for the joint. According to Dr. Kevin deWeber of Vancouver, Canada, the arthritis urban myth is a misconception perpetuated by “by mothers who are sick of hearing their kids crack their knuckles.” Dr. Greg Kawchuk, professor of Rehabilitative Medicine at the University of Alberta performed a MRI study discerning the culprit behind the noise:gas bubbles which get collapsed upon the knuckle cracking.
So what about other joints? Many dental patients complain of jaw joint noises. The implication of Dr. Kawchuck’s study is that the noise is harmless and moving the jaw around to create the pop may actually help. This still has to be verified by dental research. Pain, on the other hand, is a complicating factor which would need to be investigated by your doctor. Popping the joint may be harmful in those cases. Stick with the knuckles!