I've been cracking my knuckles since my teenage years, and I always heard this old adage: Don't crack your knuckles, or you will develop arthritis young. Well, this wives' tale is only partially true… Arthritis is a disorder that sets in to the joints when the cartilage cushioning the bones wears out. Cracking knuckles WILL NOT cause you to develop arthritis, but there is a VERY small chance that you can damage your knuckles enough to make them more likely to develop arthritis. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: kuwaitiful.com[/caption] Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that comes from a lot of wear and tear (Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder). If you crack your knuckles all the time, adding that stress to a very physically demanding job can increase your risk of developing arthritis. It's often the result of repetitive motion. However, no study has ever linked cracking knuckles to arthritis directly. Note: If you experience pain while cracking your knuckles, it may be a sign of bursitis--another repetitive motion injury.