Coronavirus (COVID-19): Important information from Sharp
Doctor's office
Enter your doctor's name to get office information.
Find labs in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find labs in your network.
Find urgent care centers in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find urgent care centers in your network.
Driving Directions
Update Information
Forgot Password

Please enter your e-mail address.

Sharp Health News

Does cracking your knuckles cause arthritis?

Oct. 12, 2015

Cracking knuckles and arthritis

Cracking and popping your knuckles will surely irritate those around you, but is it true that it can aggravate your joints and cause arthritis?

Fear not. According to Dr. Alon Garay, an orthopedic hand surgeon at Sharp Rees-Stealy, “cracking your knuckles is harmless.”

Dr. Garay explains that knuckle cracking is thought to be related to the movement of gasses — possibly nitrogen — in the joints, resulting in the audible crack.

Several studies have tested this myth, including the rather extraordinary story of Dr. Donald Unger, who used 60 years of personal knuckle cracking to create a data set showing no development of arthritis. His findings were published in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism.

As long as it does not cause discomfort or pain in the joints, knuckle cracking is not likely to cause any real harm, according to Dr. Garay.

“While rare and unlikely, if cracking your knuckles becomes strenuous and causes pain, it may be cause for concern,” he says. “If soft tissue damage occurs, ligamentous injury may cause instability,” which can lead to swollen hands or reduced grip strength.

You might also like:

Choose the doctor who's right for you.

At Sharp, we make it easy to find an exceptional doctor — right where you live and work.

All Categories
Contact Sharp HealthCare
Call us


If this is a life- or limb-threatening emergency, please call 911 immediately.

Email us

Please do not use this form to convey personal or medical information.

How would you like to be contacted?
Date of birth

Find other numbers

View our phone directory

What's This?

These important numbers are located on your billing statement.

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your Sharp hospital account number

Find your Sharp hospital account number

Find your SharpCare account number

Find your SharpCare account number
What's GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing of personal information gathered from individuals while they are in the European Union (EU) and parts of the EEA (European Economic Area, which currently includes Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).

We are sorry, but we are unable to process hospital price estimates if you live or are travelling within the EU or affiliated nations.

To learn more, call us at 858-499-5901.

What's This?

Many surgery and procedure names sound similar. If possible, please provide the current procedure terminology (CPT) code, which can be found on the order from your doctor.

If you cannot provide the CPT code, please contact your doctor's office for the CPT or a detailed description of services.