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Science File / An exploration of issues and trends
affecting science, medicine and the environment

I Didn't Know That

July 09, 1998

Q: Does cracking your knuckles lead to arthritis of the fingers?

A: Probably not. One small study reported in 1973 suggested that it does not. Now, a unique study by Dr. Donald L. Unger of Thousand Oaks seems to confirm that finding. Unger cracked the knuckles on his left hand at least twice every day for 50 years, while never cracking those on his right hand. He reported recently in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism that at the end of the 50 years, the two hands were identical and there was no arthritis in either one.

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