Why are knee joints so prone to wear out with aging?

Robert J. Otto, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
As we grow older, our joints normally experience wear and tear with everyday activities. It is similar to how the tires on cars lose their tread over time. However, this also can lead to chronic, or long-term, inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to more wear and tear (or degeneration) of cartilage, the tissue cushioning the joints. Genetics plays a role in the speed of the degeneration. Previous injuries also can speed up the wear and tear on your joints.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The meniscus - cartilage that's especially vulnerable to injury - works as a key shock absorber in the knee. Your knees each have two shock absorbers that form the shape of the C - called the medial and lateral menisci. They should be plump like grapes, not dried out like raisins. Over the years, cartilage in the knee can break down and the joint may have too little synovial fluid to keep it properly lubricated. This can lead to bone-on-bone contact in the knee. Knee surgery is often needed to correct it.

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