Finger crack: Is it harmful?

“Knack” – the list of the Ticks of the fingers is cracking in many people at the very top. While running some cold down the back, when you hear the noise only, or others do not want to renounce to the feeling of relief after the Cracking.

Why crack Finger?

Out jumping, it is not joints, cause cracking of the finger. In fact, it is much more dramatic: that Our finger bones are connected by joints with each other. Between the articular cartilage is a synovial fluid – filled gap. He draws, for example, of a Finger, the articular surfaces are pulled apart, the gap will increase, resulting in a negative pressure and thus, in the synovial fluid are dissolved gases – air bubbles – like when you Open a soda bottle.

“The bubble forms because the synovial fluid can not fill the resulting cavity,” explains Dr. Thomas Brockamp prevention expert at the German society for Orthopaedics and accident surgery and hand surgeon at the Orthopaedicum in Coesfeld.

For a long time it was assumed that the cracking noise is heard, when these hollow bubbles room again burst. Scientists at the University of Edmonton in Alberta dealt with the phenomenon and presented the results of their study in 2015.

Using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) identified the scientists, what is the real “sticking point”: The sound is actually in the Moment, the abutting joint surfaces at the train to separate at the joint and the bubble-shaped cavities in-between form. Because of this, however, there are then, first, next, came the doctors to the conclusion that it is not the Bursting of the bubble is causing the noise, but you Arise.

Researchers at the Stanford University in California came in 2018 to the same result. According to them, may the sound of the finger-crack to hear is, after all, up to 83 decibels loud , as loud as the noise of a main road approximately.

The finger crack negative consequences?

“As far as we know, is not a finger crack permanently harmful,” says Brockamp. “There is no evidence that it is associated with joint damage or osteoarthritis.”

The intentional Cracking of the finger joints is so apparently harmless, as well as a study by the University of California showed. The scientists studied 40 Volunteers, 30 of which were in the finger joints intentionally let to crack. Before and after the experiment of the finger-cracking, the test subjects were examined and the process is observed in the ultrasound. No swelling or restriction of movement were then.

Should not overdo it with the Crack anyway. “If you have a Tick, and it is excessively operates, can capsules or ligaments suffer a little and wear”, is the orthopedist to consider. “Studies show that people who crack on a regular basis with your fingers, have a higher mobility in the joint.”

Even those who are in pain , should the finger crack rather unlearn. Because a positive effect of the Crack are not, even if the people Concerned perceive it as pleasant. “Maybe it has thus the feeling, it triggered something,” he says the orthopedist. “In fact, there is no blockage in the joint, however.” Certainly, it was not bad, if you pull his Finger, as all the joints and beyond the Norm moves. “But that would have, even without Cracking the same effect.”

When sticking the end of a warning signal joints?

If joints crack however, in the case of certain movements, without that it is intended, and there is pain, can be behind it is also a musculoskeletal Problem.

“The reason for a Crack is, depending on the joint vary,” says Brockamp. On the outer side of the knee joint, a spontaneous cracking sound of a tendon can occur, the jumps over a bone edge. Crunching noises behind the kneecap may indicate cartilage damage. “If cracking is accompanied by the end of joints with pain or limitations, you should visit the doctor,” advises the physician.


Interview with Dr. Thomas Brockamp prevention expert at the German society for Orthopaedics and accident surgery and hand surgeon at the Orthopaedicum in Coesfeld

Suja, V. C., Barakat, A. I.: A Mathematical Model for the Sounds Produced byKnuckle Cracking. Scientific Reports 8, Article No. 4600 (Online Publication, 29.3.2018)

Boutin, R. D., et al.: “Knuckle Cracking”: Can Blinded Observers Detect change with Physical Examination and Sonography? Clinical Orthopaedics and related research, Vol. 475, Iss. 4, pp. 1265-1271 (April 2017)

Kawchuw, G. N., et al.: Real-Time Visualization of Joint Cavitation. PLOS ONE Vol.10, Iss. 4, e0119470 (15.4.2015)

Real-Time Visualization of Joint Cavitation. The study, published in the scientific magazine PlosOne: (Stand 15.4.2015)

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