Knuckle bones... more than just a game. Knuckles are the joints of your fingers. You actually have two different kinds of joints in your fingers, although they are typically all referred to as knuckles. The first kind is located in the main part of your hand.

knuckleThey are referred to as the metacarpophalangeal joints. That’s a mouthful, so you can either refer to them as the MCP joint or a knuckle. The MCP joints work like a hinge, allowing your fingers to elongate and curl. The second kind of knuckle is the one located at the very end of your finger and it is called the interphalangeal joint. It’s also a hinge joint, it just seems to have a little less of the hinging effect.
Your knuckles are made up of articular cartilage. It looks just like the white, shiny, smooth stuff you see on chicken bone joints. They are held in place connecting each side of the finger by ligaments and tendons. Without your knuckles you would be unable to pick anything up or play an instrument or write, or any number of things that require articulation of the joint. Remember it’s supposedly the articulating thumb that separates us from other mammals.

cracking knucklesThere is a myth that if you crack your knuckles you will end up with osteoarthritis. This is, pretty much, not true. The sound of cracking that happens when you crack your knuckle joint comes from a press of gas, but it will not, as far as research is concerned, result in inflammation or osteoarthritis. Interestingly, it is possible that the presence of gas in the joint can correlate with inflammation, which could be why there is the misconception that one is the result of the other.
Arthritis and other joint ailments are a result of systemic inflammation and auto-immune miscommunication (to put it lightly). Want to keep your knuckles healthy? Keep your immune system happy and limit inflammation causing foods, like fast food with synthetic or manufactured ingredients.