Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare and Carris Health care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to helps us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Can Cracking My Knuckles Really Cause Arthritis?

Published in Wellness, Occupational Hand Therapy Tag: Brennen Gulden, OTR/L  

You may have heard that cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis. But that's a myth. Cracking your knuckles isn't exactly good for you—though it may feel good. If it's is as natural to you as breathing, you may want to consider ditching the habit—especially if it produces pain.

What Happens When I Crack My Knuckles?

Remember that chapter on bones from that anatomy class you took in high school? Here's a quick recap. A joint is the point where two or more bones meet. Ligaments connect the bones to one another and a joint capsule surrounds it. Joint capsules have natural lubricants to help joints move smoothly. When you crack your knuckles, you pull the joint apart and expand the joint capsule. It forces gasses to release, resulting in that satisfying pop sound you hear when you've cracked your knuckles.

The reason why cracking your knuckles feels good is because it stretches the joint and stimulates the nerve endings. Repetitive and intentional joint cracking won't cause cartilage damage or arthritis, but it may lead to other serious issues like instability within the joint and a loss of grip strength or hand function. If you've ever cracked your knuckles and felt pain, it could indicate loose cartilage or injured ligaments.

Cracking your knuckles can become a habit, and habits can be hard to break. My best advice is to find another go to when you want to crack your knuckles. It could be twiddling a pencil or coin between your fingers or talking a walk. Find something—that works for you—to keep your hands busy.

Get a grip on your knuckle-cracking once and for all.