Arthritis: Can cracking fingers and toes really be a warning sign? Fact checked

Fitness & Health:

You may have been urged not to crack your joints, such as fingers or toes, because of the risk it may pose towards developing arthritis. However, how much of this is true and how much is simply an old wives tale?

Can cracking your joints cause arthritis?

According to John Hopkins Medicine, there is “no evidence that cracking knuckles causes any damage such as arthritis in joints”.

Typically, joint cracking is not thought to be a sign of arthritis or a form of the condition developing.However, even studies that found no link between arthritis and joint cracking did find links to other joint changes developing over time.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Robert Klapper says knuckle cracking itself does not harm your fingers, neck, ankles, or other joints directly, but it could signal a pre-existing condition in some cases.


If you experience discomfort while cracking, there could be an underlying condition that is being aggravated by twisting and pressing the joint.

What causes arthritis?

There are many different types of arthritis that can develop for a number of reasons.

Arthritis as a whole refers to approximately 200 rheumatic conditions that impact joints.

The leading factors of developing arthritis include injury, metabolism, hereditary causes, infections and immune system problems.

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However, many people are able to reduce the symptoms of the condition through medication and maintenance such as physical therapies and heat treatment.

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