Some children take to cracking their knuckles, perhaps because they've seen older adults engage in this behavior. If your child falls into this habit, your initial reaction as a parent may be to tell him or her to knock it off. However, if the behavior persists, you might wish to get a medical professional on your side in an effort to get your child to curtain this habit. Whether you wait until your child's next checkup or you make an appointment in the interim, you can bring up the knuckle-cracking issue with the child's pediatrician for help. Here are some ways that the doctor will offer assistance.
Discussion Of Concerns
Although people will often cite cracking your knuckles as a way to give yourself arthritis, there's not actually any medical proof of this concept. However, that doesn't mean that your child's habit of cracking his or her knuckles won't cause issues in the future. The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center warns that those who crack their knuckles repeatedly could end up dealing with issues in the finger ligaments and tendons, and there's also a risk of diminished finger strength because of this habit. Your child's pediatrician can outline these concerns so that your child knows there could be a downside to this behavior.
Not every child cracks his or her knuckles simply out of boredom or because the sound can be fun to hear. For some children, cracking one finger's knuckle may actually alleviate some discomfort. For example, if your child fully or partially dislocated a finger — perhaps while playing sports — and the finger didn't heal correctly, it may have some discomfort that cracking the knuckle can actually alleviate. If your child complains of this situation, the pediatrician can assess the finger in question, including taking an X-ray, to determine if structure damage is present.
Some children crack their knuckles because they feel nervous. Just as clearing your throat or performing other simply body motions can be common during a case of the nerves, it's possible that your child cracks his or her knuckles for this type of reason. Perhaps with you out of the examination room, the pediatrician can talk to your child about his or her reason for this behavior, which could reveal an issue that may be bothering the child, such as bullying. If appropriate, the pediatrician can then involve you in the discussion so that you can help.
Contact a clinic, like Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP, for more help.