Myth Busted! Cracking Your Knuckles

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist recently reviewed an article written by Michael Curtis on knuckle cracking. Whether the horror stories of early onset arthritis are true or just an old tale passed down from our elementary school teachers and parents.

To answer this question, no studies have shown that habitual knuckle crackers are any more prone to osteoarthritis than anyone else.

Lying between your knuckles and most of your moving joints is a lubricant called synovial fluid. This fluid, when put under a certain amount of pressure, creates vapor cavities that collapse and release gas. The collapse of these cavities is what creates the “cracking” sound. This occurrence is called cavitation. The gas released from this area doesn’t reabsorb for another 20-30 minutes, which is why joints won’t crack again right away. These sounds were shown in a 2015 study to have been more directly related to the formation of the cavity, rather than the collapse.

Though this study has found no harm to us habitual knuckle crackers, if you are experiencing any pain or instability with the cracking or popping of your joints it is crucial to further investigate your situation. Here at Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we specialize in injuries from head to toe including balance and jaw pain. For a consultation from one of our expert physical therapist, call us at (714) 997-5518.


Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

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6 Things to Avoid if You Suffer From TMJ or Jaw Pain

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Grace Walker, physical & occupational therapist and nutritionist says: “We are physical therapy experts in providing effective TMJ & Jaw pain relief.”

Here is what you should and shouldn’t do if you have jaw pain:

  • DO use hot pack or ice pack before bed
  • DO use chin under fist when yawning or coughing
  • DO use correct posture
  • DON’T chew gum, ice, or tough, crunchy foods like steak
  • DON’T rest your chin/cheek in the palm of your hand when sitting or lying on one side
  • DON’T eat, read, or watch TV in bed
  • DON’T clench your teeth when tense, jogging, or sleeping etc.
  • DON’T lick your teeth with your tongue, bite your nails or lips, lick your lips, or bite or suck your cheeks
  • DON’T talk or sing for prolonged periods of time

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an EXPERT physical therapist.


1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

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Six Myths About Joint Pain

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Follow along as Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist, explains the Six Myths of Joint Pain. If you or anyone in your family is in pain and you’re looking for somebody to help you, you’ll be able to make a more educated decision with your new understanding of joint pain.


man knee pain


Myth #1- Pain is your enemy.

  • This is a myth. Pain is a natural warning that alerts you that something is wrong in your body.


Myth #2- Joint pain is just wear and tear and there is nothing else you can do about it.- 

  • Yes there is, especially if you follow our Be Free From Pain Program.


Myth #3- You need to take ongoing medications, such as pain killers and anti-inflammatories.

  • Medications simply mask the pain, while the joints continue to deteriorate. Even doctors will tell you about how these drugs will affect your intestines.  Did you know that these medications can also make your blood pressure go up? The American Heart Society just issued a report advising doctors to recommend physical therapy for joint pain instead of medication. Some of these joint pain reducing medications have been linked to heart attacks which resulted in death.


Myth #4- Diagnosis Dilemmas

  • How many times have you heard of a test showing a problem when there wasn’t actually a problem?  Often times, you feel the need to get extensive testing such as blood work and x-rays or an MRI.  While these tests can be informative, many times they can lead to false positives.  For example, studies have shown that many people exhibit a bulging disc on an MRI even though they have no pain at all.


Myth #5- You feel that surgery is the only answer.

  • Many times, that’s simply not true.  Remember your friend Carole’s doctor?  He recommended that she try physical therapy first.  Surgery was the absolute last resort and it should be. However, if you ignore the pain for an extended period of time and don’t see a physical therapist then surgery may be the only option left for you.


Myth #6- The pain is life-changing

  • You feel that if you have pain you should curtail your activity instead of getting treatment. That’s not always true!  Work with a professional who knows how to help you with your pain.  Often times, inactivity or “curtailing of activity” leads to more rapid deterioration of your joints.


At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have the ability to help address all of the potential variables that may be causing joint pain. We look at the “whole person” when treating joint pain to provide insights as to why one might be experiencing excess strain on their joints. We also look at our patients Body Mass Index as well as the daily activities demand.

We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment.

Call us at (714) 997-5518 if you would like to discuss out program in detail.

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