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What causes arthritis?

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Updated May 16, 2014

hip osteoarthritis cause arthritis

Many factors can cause arthritis

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Question: What causes arthritis?
Determining the cause of arthritis can be difficult, because often several factors contribute to an individual developing this common problem.
Answer: Some of the risk factors that can cause arthritis include:
  • Genetics
    Exactly how much heredity or genetics contributes to the cause of arthritis is not well understood. However, there are likely genetic variations that can contribute to the cause of arthritis.

  • Age
    Cartilage becomes more brittle with age and has less of a capacity to repair itself. As people grow older they are more likely to develop arthritis.

  • Weight
    Because joint damage is partly dependent on the load the joint has to support, excess body weight can lead to arthritis. This is especially true of the hips and knees that can be worn quickly in heavier patients.

  • Previous Injury
    Joint damage can cause irregularities in the normal smooth joint surface. Previous major injuries can be part of the cause of arthritis. An example of an injury leading to arthritis is a tibial plateau fracture, where the broken area of bone enters the cartilage of the knee joint.

  • Occupational Hazards
    Workers in some specific occupations seem to have a higher risk of developing arthritis than other jobs. These are primarily high demand jobs such as assembly line workers and heavy construction.

  • Some High-Level Sports
    It is difficult to determine how much sports participation contributes to development of arthritis. Certainly, sports participation can lead to joint injury and subsequent arthritis. However, the benefits of activity likely outweigh any risk of arthritis.

  • Illness or Infection
    People who experience a joint infection (septic joint), multiple episodes of gout, or other medical conditions, can develop arthritis of the joint.

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