Is Cracking Your Joints A Bad Habit?

The snap, crackle, and pop of joints moving is usually a sign of age or soreness when it happens by accident. However, some people find great relief from popping their knuckles, their back, or even their necks on purpose. If you are a person who enjoys the relief you get from popping your knuckles or toes, people have probably told you it's bad for you.


Although it can feel great for the person who actually chooses to crack their joints, it's not always the most welcome sound for others who are around them. If you are the person who is annoyed, you may be tempted to tell your loved one that cracking their joints isn't a healthy habit. This belief has prevailed for ages now (via Shuman Podiatry). However, quite a bit of research has centered around cracking your joints. If you are guilty of chronic cracking and have developed a habit that is too embedded in your day to quit easily, the research out there is interesting.

What science says about joint cracking

People begin popping their knuckles at an early age. Kids find this habit fun, and some feel relief from it. Inverse states that over 54% of people crack their knuckles. Because many begin cracking their knuckles when they are young, it can be habit-forming. Because of this, questions surrounding whether or not this is bad for our bodies exist. According to Piedmont, joints are soaked in fluid, and when you hear the popping sound, it's actually nitrogen bubbles being released from the pressure you apply to the joints. An additional cause of this popping is the movement of ligaments that surround the joint. None of this is harmful to your body, but it may be annoying to people who are around you.


Overall, cracking your knuckles, toes, neck, back, and other joints is a safe habit. However, Self warns that popping your joints should not be a long-term solution to any aches and pains you consistently. These chronic pains can be signs that something else is wrong. If the soreness and joint aches are severe, they may need a doctor's attention. Research shows that popping and cracking your joints feels good and is harmless for the most part. There are no long-term effects from a habit of this kind, and any rumors of it causing arthritis are, in fact, rumors (via Harvard Health).

Is it a bad habit?

Whether or not this habit is a bad one may depend on who you as. The knuckle cracker is the one experiencing relief from pressure building up in the joints, and they may have a different opinion than the person who is awoken in the middle of the night to pops and cracks. As long as you're not feeling any pain from cracking your joints, your habit may only be bad to those who are around you (via Self). This may be enough of an impetus to try to stop this habit once and for all.


If you are guilty of cracking your joints out of habit or to get relief and you want to stop, there are certain things you can consider. Healthline recommends finding another way to relieve stress by exercising or deep breathing. In addition, keep your hands busy with a stress ball or a worry stone. These alternatives are less annoying to those around you and may help you quit the habit.