25 year long term observations

  • Community Lead

    These are my personal long term observations on joint cracking for the last roughly 25 years.


    My desire to crack joints started when I was about 8 years old (about the same time my hay fever started) in my right knee. Back then it wasn't so much the desire to crack the knee but not to keep it bent for any prolonged time. I hated driving in cars which limited my leg freedom. It was very uncomfortable having the knee bent. Stretching the knee usually created a very comfortable popping sound.

    The other knee developed the same symptoms as the right knee. One by one more joints got "sick".

    I think I started cracking my ankles before I developed an urge to crack my knuckles. A few years later I also started cracking my toes.
    Later my back / spine joined the cracking game. The last two joints I crack are my neck and most recently shoulders.

    For the last few years I feel the strongest urge to crack my toes / ankles followed by my knuckles followed by my neck and shoulders. I can crack my ankles almost indefinitely with very little or no refractory period.
    The toes need a little longer refractory period but not much at all. Basically, I do feel my ankles and toes hurting (pressure / burning sensation) with varying intensity pretty much all the time. I'm kinda used to the pain which most of the time I still fail to shut out.

    I noticed when I go on and on cracking my ankles for a minute or so it starts to get painful enough, so I need to stop.


    This topic has bothered me enough to consult numerous doctors. So far unfortunately with very few results:

    • Slight hyper mobility in my finger and probably other joints due to the continuous stretching
    • Checked negative for Lyme disease twice
    • Checked negative for rheumatoid factor twice (didn't test CCP yet)
    • I have hay fever (all grasses and trees) and various food allergies. The later without clinical symptoms so far.
    • In the year 2000 my blood showed heightened Immunglobulin E ("404"), slighly reduced neutrophile ("38"), slighly heightended lymphocytes ("50") and reduced alkaline phosphatase ("50")
    • Regarding autoimmune reactions I have tested for normal ANA IgG
    • Computersonography didn't find anything unusual
    • Multiple X-rays of my knees, toes, feet and spine did never detect anything unusual, with the exception of a slighty muscular fixated spine malposition
    • Regarding skin: No psioriasis found. I do have had skin breakouts / acne for as long as I can remember, found almost exclusively on my back. I have removed one lipom from my buttocks so far, I do produce keloid scar tissue
    • No tenderpoints found
    • The final diagnosis doctors have come up with so far: I'm crazy and need psychotherapy. Sadly, this is the typical diagnosis when they have given up or don't care anymore to look further.

    Impact on life

    Fortunately, joint cracking so far didn't have serious life hindering influences on me, other than slight depression and future anxiety. It doesn't affect my ability to do physical exercise nor did it ever deform my joints.

    I do usually crack the peskiest joints before relaxing to sleep but I don't ever wake up in the middle of the night with a strong desire to crack my joints. In the morning there is usually no big desire to crack the joints either although it is very easy at this time. The urge seems to rise over the course of the day.

    What helped me so far

    • Physcial exercise. E.g. jogging helps alleviate ankle cracking needs somewhat
    • Warmth. Warm climate, baths
    • Low levels of stress
    • "Simple" willpower to force myself not to crack, helps disrupt the cracking cycle. First step: Make cracking a conscious action

    Current core beliefs

    Due to lack of other information my current core beliefs on joint cracking are:

    • Joint cracking has no major negative effect on your health
    • Joint cracking is an addiction based on an obsessive-compulsive disorder with some physical root cause not yet known

  • yeah i think a scientist did a similar research thing and found cracking your knuckles does no harm. it doesn't stop lots of people from saying it does though…

  • At least that is good then JC.

  • Community Lead

    About 5 years of more joint cracking "experience" prompted me to update my personal long time observations.

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