Growing up, my cousin constantly cracked her knuckles. Our grandma would always say: “You’re going to get arthritis, dear.”
According to the Department of Orthopedics, there is no evidence that cracking or popping knuckles will cause arthritis. But, repeatedly doing this can cause soreness and swelling in the joint. When you crack your knuckles, you cause the bones of the joint to pull apart. Joints are covered by synovial fluid, which lubricates the joint to prevent friction. The sound that a joint makes when cracked is actually the breaking of a adhesive seal in the joint, which is caused by a formed gas bubble.
Individuals who have osteoarthritis can worsen their symptoms by repeatedly cracking their knuckles because the cartilage in their joints are already being broken down.