Cracking your knuckles can accomplish many things: reducing tension in your fingers, keeping your hands busy, and irritating or even shocking those around you - all valid reasons. But how do you do that? Let's list the ways.
Part 1 of 2: Grab, squeeze, twist and crack
Step 1. Ball your hands together
Think of someone who would hold a die at a dice game. This is the first step to loosen your fingers.
Step 2. Straighten your fingers in one quick motion and press each knuckle a little bit
The bottom knuckles should be the easiest to crack, but the top ones can crack too. That force should immediately cause your fingers to snap.
Sometimes knuckles just don't crack. If your finger starts to hurt and there is no crackling, just move on to the next finger
Step 3. Another way is to first ball one of your hands into a fist
Then grab your fist with the other hand and push. This way you can do a whole row of knuckles at once.
You can also rotate your hand and then push on your top knuckles as well. This may take a little getting used to, and it can be painful at first
Step 4. Or do it one finger at a time
Make a fist just like in the other methods, but focus on just one finger. You may be able to get a louder sound if you concentrate all the pressure on one finger.
With the thumb of your other hand on the finger you want to crack, hold the hand you want to crack with your other hand. Push one finger at a time with your thumb on the top of your finger or push down to crack the top
Step 5. Experiment with cracking your knuckles without making a fist
Instead, bring your hands together as if to clap or pray. Your fingers and your palms should touch, mirroring each other. Then move your palms away from each other, but keep your fingers pressed together. Push them together harder and harder and move your palms up until you hear your knuckles crack.
You may need to rotate your hands a bit. Your middle and ring fingers should crack, but with a little twist you can crack your index and pinky too
Step 6. Crack your knuckles by twisting them
There are two ways you can do this:
Grab the finger you want to crack with one hand. Then rotate that hand while keeping the finger steady. It takes some time to get it perfect, but this will help you crack your knuckles well.
You can also do this on the upper phalanges; just grab a little higher
- Grab the top part of your knuckles with the other hand and twist them. Instead of turning the hand you want to crack, turn the hand you crack the other hand with.
Step 7. Crack your knuckles without touching them
Make your fingers stiff and move them back slowly; if you have very sensitive knuckles, this may work. But for most people, this is an unattainable dream.
Even fewer people can crack the same finger again right away. This may not be the case with you, but if you are having trouble, please wait 5-10 minutes before trying again
Part 2 of 2: Understanding your knuckles
Step 1. Understand why your knuckles are cracking
The sound comes from the gas bubbles in the fluid of your joints that are released when you move them. Since people's joints differ in size, some people can make more noise than others. Some people can't crack their knuckles at all. Which can you do? Can you crack the top and bottom knuckles too?
All our joints (where the bones are joined together by tendons and ligaments) are covered with a synovial fluid. Stretching your finger creates an increase in volume which in turn causes a loss of pressure. That causes the gases to decompose, creating bubbles. Those are the bubbles that pop in your fingers; that process is known as 'cavitation'
Step 2. Wait about 15 minutes until you crack your fingers again
When you've cracked your knuckles, it takes a while for the gas bubbles to dissolve again in your synovial fluid. As a result, you cannot immediately crack your fingers again. But the liquid should be ready in 10 to 15 minutes. Take the time with yours!
Step 3. Know the consequences
Your mother probably told you that cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis or some other serious illness in your hands. Is that true? Well, probably not. Some studies have been done, but nothing conclusive has been found. It's more of a myth.
Some people say it can cause joint pain, while others say there is no correlation. And then there's the fact that those who crack their knuckles may already be in pain, so how can you know? But, as with anything, don't do it too often just to be safe
- You can crack each finger individually and maybe you can crack some at different angles. For example, grab your ring finger at the top with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand and turn it away from you.
- Grab a finger between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Grab the middle phalanx of the finger. Push both the index finger and thumb toward the joint on opposite sides. You should hear a "click" instead of a deep crack like the crack of your knuckles.
- You can also push down hard on the lower part of your finger. If you touch the bottom of your finger, you have to wait a little longer.
- You can use another method where you wiggle your fingers for a long time or type on a keyboard, then pull all your fingers. To do this you have to pull hard.
- You can extend your fingers loosely and then grab one finger with the other hand, slowly bend your finger back and then pull.
- You can push on the fingers of your other hand with your thumb. Your finger should then be straight and pointing down.
- Hold your palm and fingers at a 90-degree angle, then slide the palm of your other hand down your fingers until you touch the palm of your hand, then quickly push up and ball your hand into a fist. This should crack the top knuckles.
- People who have twisted fingers are most likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. This is a condition that has nothing to do with cracking your knuckles, where your own immune system starts attacking your joints, causing inflammation and damage to your bones.
- If you find it's becoming a habit to crack your knuckles, try to understand why and deal with that first. Cracking your knuckles often is usually a sign of underlying stress or nervousness.
- Some people get very irritated by the sound of cracking fingers. Be polite and don't do it around those people.
- While cracking your knuckles shouldn't cause arthritis, a medical study shows that cracking your knuckles frequently can lead to damage to your soft tissue. Doing this often can become a bad habit and lead to wear and tear.