Can cracking your knuckles cause cartilage breakdown? Can texting trigger hand OA? Will wearing high heels damage your knee joints? Osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes called “wear and tear” arthritis, occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints breaks down leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. So it’s often thought that if you engage in repetitive activity and put added stress on your joints, it can affect how quickly you get OA or how fast it progresses. Can these five lifestyle factors – knuckle cracking, texting, diet, high-impact exercise and high-heeled shoes – affect your joint health and possibly cause osteoarthritis? Here’s what research says.