The short answer, NO.
The long answer is chronic knuckle cracking can lead to joint laxity, meaning loose joints. However, this can set you up for hand sprains. It does not give you arthritis, nor does it give you large knuckles.
The cracking noise you hear is called a cavitation. A cavitation is the technical term for the release of a gas bubble inside a joint. To be more specific, it is a release of Co2 and nitrogen within the synovial fluid inside of the joint. Synovial fluid is the liquid lubricant in found in all joints in the body. When you crack your neck its because you're trying to release stress from your neck, another great way of doing that is by getting the best posture corrector for neck.
Whether it's cracking your knuckles or having an adjustment from your chiropractor, you've heard the "pop" and you've most likely experienced relief when the "pop" occurs.
Many people think the cracking noise is bones snapping. This is not true, more likely is it a tendon moving over a bony prominence. As long as it doesn't hurt, it is something you needn't worry. Normal.
When gas isn't released from a joint capsule, several things happen. You will notice a decrease in range of motion (you're less flexible) because joints are too tight and get 'stuck'. As one joint gets 'stuck,' other joints in the area need to work harder and are subject to overuse syndrome.
I'm not talking about joints being overtaxed during a marathon, more like the inability to look over your shoulder.
Without good joint motion there is an acceleration of any arthritis you may have. Arthritis occurs when a joint loses motion. The best thing you can do for an arthritic joint is move it!
Joint tightness causes muscle tightness. What follows can be muscle spasms, myofascial trigger points, and inflammation in the muscle. This is when the alarm system kicks in and deep muscle PAIN. See if you have proper posture with a simple posture check here.
Cavitating the joints is actually good for you!
When they don't, you experience more wear and tear on other areas. Like when one hip wears out before the other. Or your degenerative joint disease begins to creep into other parts of your spine.
Chiropractors know the importance of cavitating the joints in your spine to release joint pressure and increase range of motion. That range of motion is especially important when it comes to knowing about your knot in upper back.
Most people, however, are fearful of having their neck adjusted even though this has been proven to be perfectly safe. Not surprising are the number of people with neck problems. The first being the head and neck are carried out in front of the body rather than on top of the body. Not doing regular neck adjustments causes shrinking, and a lot of our older customers actually ask us about "how to prevent shrinking with age" before buying our board.