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What causes degenerative arthritis?

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Quick Answer

Also known as osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis mostly occurs due to aging, states WebMD. Secondary degenerative arthritis can occur due to other conditions such as gout, congenital abnormalities, obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and continuous trauma to the joint structures. Osteoarthritis can also affect several members of a family, indicating a genetic nature of this condition.

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Full Answer

During aging, the fluid in the cartilage increases, and the protein in the cartilage degenerates, says WebMD. Continuous use of the joints over time damages the cartilage, leading to swelling and joint pain. After a while, the cartilage degenerates by developing tiny crevasses or flaking. In severe cases, a patient loses the cushion between the bones of the joints. Loss of the cartilage cushion increases friction between the joints, leading to pain and reduced joint movement. New bone outgrowths may also develop as a result of the damage to the cartilage.

Obesity leads to osteoarthritis by heightening stress on the cartilage, says WebMD. Repeated use of the joints causes osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint damage and osteoarthritis over time. People with congenital abnormalities or abnormal joints at birth have a high risk of mechanical stress, leading to joint damage and early degeneration. Congenital abnormalities are linked to osteoarthritis of the hip joints.

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