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Joint injuries, especially intraarticular fractures, frequently lead to progressive joint degeneration that causes the clinical syndrome of posttraumatic osteoarthritis. Orthopaedists try to prevent this disease by attempting to restore joint congruity, alignment, and stability; however, many patients have crippling joint pain and dysfunction develop despite optimal current treatment. The pathophysiology of posttraumatic osteoarthritis has not been explained. It is not simply the magnitude and type of injury that determines whether an injured articular surface will repair and remodel or undergo progressive degeneration. For these reasons, clinically significant progress in preventing posttraumatic osteoarthritis depends on advances in understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease that will make it possible to decrease the risk of articular surface degeneration and facilitate articular surface repair and remodeling. We examine the relationships between joint injury, repair and remodeling, and joint degeneration; the factors that increase the risk of posttraumatic joint degeneration; and, the questions that need additional investigation to develop treatments of joint injuries that will decrease the risk or severity of posttraumatic osteoarthritis.