Does Cracking Knuckles Give You Arthritis?

Cracking knuckles is a bad habit most males have. It seems to give them a sense of security and power. So what really causes that cracking sound? Well, our knuckles are covered by the synovial capsule which is filled with synovial fluid. There are also gases that are dissolved in the fluid such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. When the knuckle is cracked, the synovial capsule is stretched and the internal pressure is lowered, creating a bubble which eventually bursts, creating that popping sound. This is also the reason why you are unable to crack your knuckles continuously due to the need for the gases and bubbles to form. However, many people are extremely concerned with relationship between cracking knuckles and arthritis. There are 2 major types of arthritis namely the inflammatory and degenerative types. For inflammatory arthritis, it is largely due to autoimmunity. Degenerative arthritis is those associated with wear and tear and has a closer similarity with cracking of knuckles. Let’s try to clarify those doubts in this article.

Cracking fingers seem to relieve stresses and provide a pleasurable feeling similar to Thai Massages where various joints in your body are cracked by the masseuse. Well, cracking knuckles does not increase the chances of getting arthritis. Various studies have not only conducted experiments on people who crack their knuckles, they also investigated people who frequently crack every few minutes. However, the results concluded that there was no difference in the rates of osteoarthritis with the cracking of knuckles. Not only that, no visible deformation was caused to the fingers due to prolonged cracking. Some research also found out that subjects who crack their fingers frequently have strong fingers compared to the control group. While cracking of knuckles may not seem to cause arthritis, they may lead to other complications. Researchers found out that habitual knuckle crackers are more likely to suffer from hand swelling and loss of strength. Constant cracking will keep stretching the finger ligaments, causing damages to the fingers.  In short, they concluded that knuckle cracking results in functional hand impairment.

While knuckle cracking does not have a directly related to arthritis, it can lead to future problems such as swelling and loss of strength. Arthritis is after all more common in the elderly due to ageing. There are also no benefits to cracking your fingers. Instead, the cons outweigh the pros by a large extent. Try to cut down this bad habit of yours today!

4 Ways To Survive The Cast

A cast is meant to hold broken bones in place until it heals. Casts help to immobilise the immediate areas around an injured joint and reduces muscular contractions, preventing further movement at the injury site. It holds the entire broken bone in the correct alignment while allowing it to heal naturally. It can either be placed to prevent surgery for minor cases or as a protective barrier after surgery depending on the seriousness of the injury. However, casts are bulky and rigid things that make movement extremely difficult. Let’s look at some ways to survive the cast.

Crutches

Your best friend throughout your time in a cast would probably be your crutches. Since movements will be severely hindered, you will definitely need assistance to move around. It is impractical to ask your family and friends to help you all the time so this is where crutches come into the picture. Crutches can help you to move around much easier and reduce dependency on your loved ones.

Wheelchair

Wheelchair is another possible means to move around in a much more comfortable method. However, wheelchairs will cause inconvenience to those around you due to the size of it and although you are more comfortable, there are more limitations to what you can do. For example, you can easily board a bus using crutches but it is impossible to board a bus that is not equipped for wheelchairs.

Elevate your legs

Prolonged periods of being in a cast can cause blood to concentrate at the injury site due to the sheer weight of it and gravity acting on it. As such, if your legs are in a cast, you should try to elevate it in a position above your heart whenever you can. Elevating above the heart will allow for proper blood circulation and promote a speedier healing process. This is especially important during your sleep whereby your feet will be in the position for at least 7 hours. Prop your legs up using multiple pillows and reduce the chances of Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Ice

Ice will help to decrease the swelling and relieve pain. However, make sure you do not cause the cast to become wet or it might start to affect the integrity of it. To prevent this from happening, place some ice inside a small plastic bag and wrap it with a towel. When possible, ice the injured region for 15 minutes every hour. This will definitely speed up healing.

Casts are bulky protective items that help to protect your injured joint or bone. It immobilises the injured part and ensures proper alignment is met during the recovery phase. As such, it will cause inconvenience to our lives and much adjustment has to be made. However, it is a crucial part of the healing process and if this step goes wrong, our joints will be affected for life.

How Does Yoga Reduce Orthopaedic Injuries?

No one in this world is born perfect. There are imbalances in various parts of our body and this can cause injuries if mishandled. Many sports athletes are now turning to an ancient form of practice – Yoga. Yoga helps to increase the flexibility and physical as well as mental strength of oneself. It helps to prevent injuries associated with overuse and speed up recovery of existing injuries.

Yoga is normally conducted in a room that is slightly warm. This increase in temperature will allow muscles to expand and relax, allowing for an increase in stretching capabilities. Enhanced stretching will help to lower the risk of injuries. Yoga will help to build up physical strength and tone muscles, especially vulnerable ones such as the back muscles. It also increases flexibility, reducing injuries that are sustained due to the inability to flex. Since yoga causes perspiration, it will draw out toxins and impurities from the body, burn excess calories and help to build up endurance levels.

Orthopaedic injuries are all about the joints and musculoskeletal system. Having strong joints and muscles will help to significantly lower the risk of injuries. For example, athletes that are involved in high tempo activities such as basketball and soccer are at a high risk of ankle sprains. Due to the constant running and jumping motion, this causes a lot of high stresses to build up at the joints. Without sufficient rest, it can lead to overuse injuries and eventually soft tissue damages. Not only does yoga help to strengthen these joints, it also helps to reduce body weight to reduce the cyclic stresses acting on weak areas of the body.

You may be thinking basic warm up and cool down stretches also help to increase body heat and relax the muscles, increasing flexibility. What is so special about yoga? Well, the main difference is that yoga goes beyond stretching the “common” muscles. Normal stretches simply stretch the muscles in a one direction plane. However, this is rather useless for sports since sports is a 3 dimensional activity whereby the stresses come in the x, y and z plane. Yoga helps to stretch all the muscles in all the directions including the small ones to better prepare for what is to come during the games. Additionally, how yoga differs from ordinary stretching lies in its breathing during the practice. The emphasis of muscles isolation, works on specific muscles and in general stronger muscles would reduce the risk of sustaining orthopaedic injuries. In fact, stronger muscles also reduce the extent of an injury as well as recovery rate. Generally a stronger individual would be able to recover faster than an individual with weak muscles.

Yoga is an ancient activity that helps to warm up your muscles, increase the flexibility and build up your physical and mental strength through various poses and motion. With thousands of years of history, it is tried and tested by many.