Here’s What’s Really Going On When You Crack Your Knuckles

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Image: Meredith Rizzo via National Public Radio

Most people around the world have an annoying habit. From chewing your nails to picking your nose, some quirks can seem impossible to break. And while most habits are relatively harmless, others aren’t. For example, arguments have raged for years over whether or not cracking knuckles is bad for you. Now questions about the custom’s potential ill-effects have finally been answered via an intriguing scientific study.

Image: YouTube/Vox

The debate regarding joint cracking has continued for decades in the science field. It all started with a study published back in 1947. The experiment was conducted by J.B. Roston and R. Wheeler Haines, as they looked to discover the cause of what’s still a common issue. And, using serial radiography, the pair appeared to find an interesting answer.

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Image: YouTube/Vox

Following the cracking of a joint, Roston and Haines discovered that a bubble developed in the fluid between that particular joint. With that information in mind, the duo subsequently linked the cracking sound to the forming of the bubble. For the next 24 years, that interpretation was the standard. Then a new suggestion came to light, igniting the debate again.

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