Inheritance and genes can play a role in the development of arthritis. However, since a majority of people over the age of 60 have certain degrees of arthritis in some of their joints, it is difficult to sort out who has a genetic predisposition from those with general “wear and tear.” Nevertheless, some families experience a higher rate of osteoarthritis due to weaker collagen, a substance that provides the structure in cartilage.
The actual arthritis process is typically due to multiple factors, genetic predisposition being only one of them. Inflammatory arthritis, commonly known as Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA, is much less common than osteoarthritis, clearly genetic and much less environmentally dependent. The majority of osteoarthritis is environmentally dependent, affected by injury, weight, and lifestyle and somewhat due to age.