|This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday and for Round Ten I am focusing on people from the past, some famous, others less so.|
‘Mother, I know you can hear me. Mother, you were wrong! And now that I have your attention, can I stop eating my broccoli, please?’
Those are the words of Donald L Unger after he proved his mother wrong – that cracking your knuckles as a child does not cause arthritis in later life as she claimed.
Unger began his experiment as a child, cracking the knuckles of his left hand, but not his right, for over sixty years and demonstrated that this had no discernible adverse effect.
This dedication to the advancement of science earned the octogenarian physician the 2009 IgNobel Prize for Medicine.
However, you should be warned that knuckle-cracking isn’t without its dangers. It can make your joints swell, inflame ligaments and may reduce the strength of your grip over time.
For the record, the popping sound you hear when knuckle-cracking isn’t that of something bursting, but of carbon dioxide bubbles forming in the synovial fluid contained in the membranes between joints.