Ways to Crack Your Knuckles


Habitual knuckle cracking and the popping sound it creates is satisfying and gratifying to those who enjoy it, and aggravating and disgusting to those who don't. If you're interested in being your own personal chiropractor to crack your knuckles, you can learn multiple ways of going about it.

People have different opinions about the health effects of joint cracking all together, with some people claiming that it's harmless and offers a small and immediate sense of pain relief, while some healthcare and medical professional’s medical advice insisting that it contributes to problems with arthritis.

What are some popular methods used to make knuckles pop and achieve this addicting cracking sound?

Medical disclaimer: Perform these exercises at your own risk.

The Classic Method

You may recognize this method from old gangster movies where tough guys would use it to limber up their hands before beating someone senseless.

  • Hold your hands up with the palms facing away from you and interlock your fingers
  • Push your hands away from your body so that the back of each hand bends the fingers of the other hand backwards
  • Keep pushing until all your knuckles crack

Finger Pulling

This method allows you to select the knuckles that you would like to crack.

  • Hold the upper end of a finger tightly with your opposite hand in a fist
  • Pull on the finger until the knuckle cracks


This method could also be used as a form of torture, so don't overdo it.

  • Hold up your right hand with the palm facing toward you
  • With your left hand, grab one of your right fingers and bend it backwards over the back of your hand
  • If it starts to hurt badly before the knuckle cracks, stop or you may break your finger

The Crunch

  • Hold up one hand with the palm facing toward the floor and make a loose fist
  • Wrap your other hand over the top, with the first row of knuckles of each hand aligned
  • Squeeze your lower hand tightly with your other hand and pull down over the fingers until your knuckles start cracking

The Steeple

This is a dramatic method with excellent visuals.

New York Jets v Denver Broncos
  • Place your hands in front of you with the palms and fingers together in a praying position
  • Lift your elbows into the air and force your palms apart until the backs of your hands are horizontal but your fingers are still vertical and pressed tightly together

At some point, your knuckles will start to pop.

What actually happens when you crack your knuckles?

Now that you know how to be your own personal chiropractic, let’s talk about what actually happens when you perform one of these movements and crack your knuckles.

The “pop” sound heard when you crack your knuckles is caused by bursting gas bubbles of synovial fluid, the fluid that is responsible for lubricating your joints. These gas bubbles pop, or crack, when you pull the bones apart and create negative pressure by performing any of the above methods.

Habitual knuckle crackers stand by the studies that say the habit isn’t necessarily what causes arthritis, but orthopedics note that the unusual range of motion can lead to reduced grip strength.