Okay ready? Put your palms together. Fold your pinkie and ring fingers down. Tuck in your middle and pointer fingers. Cross your thumbs. Allow your BFF to lean over and suddenly push your knuckles together: c-r-a-c-k ! She cracks your knuckles.
It’s one in a long line of mildly torturous friendship games children play. Remember building a “rose garden” on your friend’s arm by pinching his forearm until it turned beet red?
As I watch my kids play the “knuckle cracking game,” I am reminded of a question parents often ask: “He is always cracking his knuckes! Won’t that cause early arthritis?”
When I look over at the object of the parent’s complaint in the office, the child usually gives me a big grin, and c-r-a-c-k, happily demonstrates to me the reason for the parent’s question. To the parent’s dismay, I tell the family knuckle cracking will not lead to early arthritis. However, I always laugh and warn the kid that harm from cracking knuckles comes not from the action of cracking knuckles but rather from an irritated parent’s wrath.
What’s the consequence of allowing a friend to crack your knuckles? That I do not know… although I have a suspicion the parental consequence is similar to when you crack your own.
Naline Lai, MD with Julie Kardos, MD
©2010 Two Peds in a Pod℠