Yes, I crack my knuckles. No, I won’t get arthritis.

I am a knuckle-cracker. 

To be more accurate, I will crack anything that is crackable.  This includes, but is not limited to: fingers, toes, knees, shoulders, hips, ankles, back, elbows, wrists, even my sternum.  To be fair, that last one is usually on accident when I am reaching around to put on my seatbelt.  Needless to say, I have a bit of a problem.  At least others seem to think so.

My family used to ask me, “Are you nervous?”  “Are you anxious about something?” “Do you really need to crack your fingers again – you just cracked them 10 minutes ago!?!”  They have since realized that there really is no explanation…I just crack my knuckles ALL. THE. TIME.

To be completely honest, half the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it. 

Stopped at a red light – crack. 

Sitting at my desk at work – crack. 

Putting lotion on…hell, I’m already rubbing my hands together, I might as well crack my knuckles while I’m at it. 

I rationalize all this by explaining that my fingers hurt and cracking them helps relieve the pain.  However, that’s only true about 25% of the time.  The rest of the time I think I am just doing it out of habit.  Or boredom.  Or just because I can.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to stop.  I have.  It didn’t work.  (Plus, it’s hard to sit on your hands all hours of the day.)  I will admit, I have more than one friend who can’t stand the sound.  In fact, many friends – including my husband.  And I completely acknowledge that my fellow office workers probably don’t all appreciate the giant, deafening “pop” sounds coming from my desk at least 2-3 times per…hour.  I just don’t have a strong motivation, or medical justification, to stop.  There is something so satisfying about releasing that tension in the joints, it’s hard to describe. 

I blame it on my dad.

When I was little, he would have me and my sister walk (and jump!) on his back to get it to crack.  We would pull his toes and push on his fingers until we heard them pop.  He’d then pull on our toes and the vicious cycle began…Drove, er…drives our mom crazy but it was 3 vs. 1 – sorry, mom.

So despite all the speculation that I crack my knuckles because I’m anxious or nervous, I just don’t see that as the case.  If it were, I would probably need to be checked into an inpatient facility.  Is it annoying?  Yes.  Does it consume too much of my day?  Probably.  Will I stop?  Not likely.  I’ll certainly try, but I can only sit on my hands for so long.

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