Consequences of knuckle cracking: a report of two acute injuries

Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 1999 Feb;28(2):113-4.


A question commonly asked of physicians focuses on the possible deleterious effects of knuckle cracking. Patients are usually concerned that the risk of arthritis is increased by the habit; however, reports addressing the potential long-term consequence are controversial. We present two cases in which acute injuries were suffered while the patients were attempting to crack their knuckles. Both injuries responded well to conservative treatment. Our investigation shows that acute injuries can result from the forceful manipulation needed to achieve the audible pop of cracking knuckles and that patients should be counseled accordingly.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / therapy
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Male
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint / injuries*
  • Tendon Injuries