The unimpaired functionality of diarthrodial joints is essential for an active life. The complex joint system with all its appropriate structures is designed to withstand the changing biomechanical forces that act upon it during lifetime. With increasing age all joint structures are subjected to mechanical, molecular, or cellular alterations that may, depending on their degree, lead to an impairment of the joint operability.

Clearly, a number of events, some of them potentially detrimental, affect the joints during aging, but usually it is a compound of several factors that ultimately results in a deterioration of joint function. Although the knowledge concerning joints and aging has developed considerably during the last years, distinct causes and processes within different joint structures, as well as their interplay, are not fully understood. Regarding joint disorders as a major healthcare problem, it is critical to rapidly increase the understanding of the age-related changes of joint structures and their relationship to its impairment. Progress toward this goal may give us opportunities of intervention that will slow down or even halt age-dependent joint alterations to maximize the quality of life and independence for the increasing number of middle-aged and old people.

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