Since you were a kid, you've likely heard warnings that popping your knuckles will destroy your joints, or at least prevent you from being a brain surgeon like your father wanted. But for the longest time, no one really knew why joints cracked, or whether doing so really caused arthritis or other joint problems down the road.
Thankfully, there's a researcher for every question: scientists decided to attempt cracking the code once and for all to see if there is any credence to this old wives' tale. There's good news to be had -- well, for knuckle crackers, anyway.
It looks like a firework in your joint
Dr. Robert D. Boutin, professor of radiology at the University of California, Davis Health System, looked into the joints -- literally -- to find out what causes a knuckle to crack, and if doing so produces any disastrous results. He and a team of researchers studied the goings on inside the knuckle where the fingers meet the hand (aka the metacarpophalangeal joint for you science-y types) because, really, it's weird that you can move a joint and a loud sound emerges from it.