Man Nearly Loses His Hand, Then His Life, After Cracking His Knuckles

The Open Field / Mirror

Most of us have experienced cracking our joints, whether it's on purpose or by accident.

Some believe that constantly cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis, while others think it only causes swelling. Whatever it may be, it can't be worse than what a 31-year-old man experienced when he "absent-mindedly" cracked his knuckles at work one day.

Not only did he almost lose his hand, he nearly lost his life.

Antoine Boylston, a service technician from Kentucky, had to undergo several operations, one that involved amputating his little finger.

By the end of it all he had only two functioning fingers on his right hand, but he's glad that he didn't lose his life.

"Doctors warned I may lose my hand but if I had waited much longer I could've lost the entire arm or died," he said.

It wasn't just the act of cracking his knuckles that changed Boylston's life dramatically, it was the result of a scab wound on his hand opening, which later became infected with flesh-eating bacteria.

"I had only heard of flesh-eating viruses from movies. I didn't think that was a thing people could actually get," he said.

We warn you, the following photos are graphic.

Boylston thought his broken finger was causing him to feel sick to his stomach, but luckily he went to see a doctor to get a life-saving diagnosis.

"It wasn’t until I woke from surgery, and was told I had necrotising fasciitis, that I understood the severity of it all. The infection had spread through my hand from the cut, almost to my elbow," he recalled, after given emergency surgery.

He said he can still remember the feeling of his finger "dying," recalling that it was the worst pain he's ever felt:

"It was like dipping your hand into a bucket of ice. It was so cold that it burned. Doctors weren’t sure if I’d regain blood flow, but it’d returned to most of them after a day or two. It was pretty clear that I would lose my pinkie [little] finger. It looked like something from a zombie movie, hanging from my hand and was kind of starting to smell weird.”

Doctors performed a skin graft in which skin from Bolyston's thigh was used to cover his hand and arm.

“I thought a flesh-eating bug was something people got in the movies – not from cracking their knuckles too much. I’d do it a lot, and not think anything of it – but I was going to live to regret it,” Boylston said.

Do you know anyone who has a bad habit of cracking their knuckles?

[Sources: Daily Mail / Mirror]