Man Says Cracking His Knuckles Almost Cost Him His Life; The Pictures Are Gruesome

A 31-year-old man nearly cut his life short due to a complication from a common habit: knuckle cracking. While the knuckle cracking itself wasn't what nearly killed him, it started a domino effect that left the man fighting for his life.

He says he's lucky to be alive, and he'll never again crack his knuckles.

Antoine Boylston was in the habit of cracking his knuckles, and he did it absent-mindedly just about every day. He cracked them one day in April of 2016 while on the job.

The service technician didn't realize it at the time, but he accidentally opened a small cut he had on his knuckle.

Just a few hours after he cracked his knuckles he began to feel pain and nausea. He thought he had accidentally broken a finger from cracking. His hand and arm began to swell and darken.  

That evening, the Kentucky man headed to the hospital, expecting to have his suspicions that he broke his own finger confirmed. Doctors immediately told him that was not the case, and they performed a skin biopsy on him.

He was diagnosed with a flesh-eating bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis. He had to be rushed into surgery.

"Doctors warned I may lose my hand but if I had waited much longer I could've lost the entire arm or died," Boylston said. "I had only heard of flesh-eating viruses from movies. I didn't think that was a thing people could actually get, let alone that what I thought was a broken finger from cracking my knuckles too much was actually a disease, spreading up my arm."

The surgery involved opening Boylston's arm from elbow to finger, and cutting out the infected tissue. It took doctors three hours to complete the job, and Boylston then spent a week in intensive care.

He ended up getting a second surgery to prevent the infection from continuing to spread.

The oddest sensation that Boylston remembers is feeling his fingers 'dying' as the blood flow became restricted. "It was like dipping your hand into a bucket of ice. It was so cold that it burned," Boylston told the Daily Mail.

The patient said his hand looked like 'something from a zombie movie', and it quickly became clear that his little finger was going to have to be amputated. He never realized how important the pinkie finger actually was.

"It turns out your grip strength actually comes from your pinkie and ring finger," he explained. "It seems like nothing, but the pinkie is actually one of the worst fingers you could lose."

In all, Boylston lost three fingers, but he's actually lucky that he didn't lose his whole hand, or his life. After the infection healed and after receiving multiple skin grafts, he's moving on with his life and learning to work with his two remaining fingers.

While in physical therapy, Boylston got involved in a new hobby: 'strongmen' tournaments.

The weight-lifting competitions are hard enough when you have all your fingers, but Boylston refuses to use his disability to make excuses for himself. He's finished in the top five in two competitions already.

He says he's still adapting, and it's sometimes a struggle. "Typing, swinging a hammer, and holding small items is a pain. I can't form a fist," he says. "Pocket change is now my worst enemy. I forget and try to hold it in my right hand and it slides out every time."

But as long as he gets to live, he could live with that.

He's also given up knuckle cracking for good.

Source: MailOnline
Photo: MailOnline

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