End plate sclerosis is a medical term that refers to an increased thickening or density at the top and bottom of a vertebra. According to Spine-health.com, these end plates attach to intervertebral discs. Vertebra are separated from each other by these discs.
X-rays and MRIs can reveal these areas of increased whiteness, which indicate an increased buildup of calcium, according to Triangle Disc Care. This finding typically points to areas of greater stress on the bone.
Disk degeneration can occur as a result of wear and tear over time. The disc begins to lose fluid. It may tear, collapse and cause inflammation in adjacent tissue, like the vertebra. Disc degeneration often leads to osteoarthritis and end plate sclerosis, according to the Center for Functional MRI at the University of California in San Diego.
End plate sclerosis commonly occurs in the early stages of osteoarthritis, according to Triangle Disc Care. As the condition progresses, bone spurs or osteophytes form in the end plates.