Can cracking your knuckles and back cause arthritis?


There are few things more satisfying than taking a nice stretch at the start or the end of the day. But what if your joints are doing more popping than stretching?

If you're in the habit of popping your spine when you stretch or cracking your knuckles, you may be worried that you're causing damage to your joints. 

The truth is that popping or cracking your own joints can temporarily relieve stiffness and pain and doesn’t lead to arthritis. However, when joint adjustment isn’t done by a professional chiropractor, there are a handful of risks to consider.

Joints make a popping sound when you apply negative pressure to them, temporarily pulling nitrogen gas into them. It’s the sound you hear when getting a chiropractic adjustment, popping your knuckles or cracking your neck. If cracking your joints causes pain, they could contain loose cartilage or injured ligaments.

Additionally, cracking your own back could lead to brain injuries, disk damage and stroke. Chiropractors can safely adjust your spine since they’re trained to know which joints need to be cracked and which ones need to be left alone.

There are other safe alternatives to joint cracking that can keep you loose and limber. If you’re experiencing regular joint pain, don’t settle for the temporary relief popping your joints provides. At Goshen Physicians Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, our orthopedic solutions can repair or replace what's bothering you and get you on your way to living the life you enjoy.

Whether your pain is a result of a trauma, sports injury or deterioration, we can help. Our orthopedic team considers all the options, then develops a treatment plan specific to your needs. We offer both surgical and non-surgical options, as well as complete rehabilitation services, to help minimize pain and maximize recovery.

From diagnosis and treatment through rehabilitation and follow-up care, we're dedicated to getting you back to enjoying life. For more information about how we can treat your orthopedic pain, call Goshen Physicians Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at (574) 534-2548 or visit us online at