You may not think twice before cracking knuckles with a loud pop when you are feeling the stress or as a physical stress relieving technique. The use of the keyboard to key in data, e-mails and other information online has increased the stress to our finger and knuckle joints.
In fact I have even heard of knuckle cracking competition being held in college parties. When you are young, you body is capable of taking a lot of misuse. But as you get hold, it definitely pays to take good care of your joints.
Cracking knuckles causes a heavy and irreparable stress on the ligaments that hold the bones in place. When you crack your knuckles repeatedly, the cartilages around the knuckle joints also suffer some damage. The problem with all this is that the ligaments, cartilage etc. do not regenerate. They can at best be repaired with bio compatible substances.
Cracking knuckles may be one of the first symptoms of arthritis. It is essential that you make a note of excessive stiffness in the knuckle region. To put it differently, any cracking noise that occurs when you straighten your fingers is an indicator of arthritis.
The practice of cracking knuckles is to be avoided as it can reduce the gripping power of your hands. Do not think that your grip is not important. You need a good grip to hold things like your shopping bag, briefcase and even to steer your vehicle. In some cases cracking the knuckles will lead to swelling of the hand.
You can apply a cold compress to your hand to get short term relief. For a sustained relieving effect, you must immediately modify your behavioral pattern. Let me explain. For example, if your job requires you to type for more than an hour each day, it pays to learn the correct posture and finger positioning to reduce the stress to your knuckles and wrist. The key here is to manage your work methodology to protect your joints.
If you were in the habit of cracking knuckles for a long time, you may have to see a behavioral therapist for help. Before planning a session with your therapist, think of the triggers (emotional or otherwise) that induce you to crack your knuckles. If you are able to correctly pin point the reasons, your therapist will be able to suggest ways by which you can counter your urge to crack your knuckles.