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J Am Board Fam Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;24(2):169-74. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2011.02.100156.

Knuckle cracking and hand osteoarthritis.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. kdeweber@usuhs.mil

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous studies have not shown a correlation between knuckle cracking (KC) and hand osteoarthritis (OA). However, one study showed an inverse correlation between KC and metacarpophalangeal joint OA.

METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective case-control study among persons aged 50 to 89 years who received a radiograph of the right hand during the last 5 years. Patients had radiographically proven hand OA, and controls did not. Participants indicated frequency, duration, and details of their KC behavior and known risk factors for hand OA.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of KC among 215 respondents (135 patients, 80 controls) was 20%. When examined in aggregate, the prevalence of OA in any joint was similar among those who crack knuckles (18.1%) and those who do not (21.5%; P = .548). When examined by joint type, KC was not a risk for OA in that joint. Total past duration (in years) and volume (daily frequency × years) of KC of each joint type also was not significantly correlated with OA at the respective joint.

CONCLUSIONS:

A history of habitual KC-including the total duration and total cumulative exposure-does not seem to be a risk factor for hand OA.

Comment in

PMID:
21383216
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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