What’s a health cliché that really bugs you? What are you tired of people asking you or saying to you again and again? Write it down. Then reclaim it! Take it back and turn it around so you make it something you could be comfortable hearing.

i used to hear this all the time growing up. oh lord did i hate it.

“Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.”

Nope, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The “popping” sound is created by the bursting of a gas bubble trapped beneath the lubricating capsule of fluid covering the knuckle. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center say there is no evidence to support that cracking knuckles causes any joint damage such as arthritis. There have been reports of injury to the ligaments around the joint or dislocation of tendons, which attach muscle to bone, according to the center. But the injuries were treatable, with no permanent damage. Researchers also cited a study that found many years of habitual knuckle cracking may cause reduced grip strength compared to non-knuckle crackers.

If it’s not knuckle cracking, what causes arthritis? There are two major categories of arthritis: Rheumatoid, or inflammatory, and degenerative, known as osteoarthritis. While the jury is still out on the exact causes, researchers believe there is likely a genetic predisposition for both types.

Degenerative arthritis, the “wear-and-tear” variety, is linked to aging and excessive mechanical stress, which may accelerate joint damage. For example, genetically predisposed older obese individuals may be more prone to arthritis in the knees.

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