Mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in aging and multiple degenerative diseases, including intervertebral disc degeneration (IVDD) and osteoarthritis (OA). Thus, the maintenance of mitochondria homeostasis and function is important. Mitophagy, a process that selectively clears damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria through autophagic machinery, functions to maintain mitochondrial quality control and homeostasis. IVDD and OA are similar joint diseases involving the degradation of cartilaginous tissues that are mainly caused by oxidative stress, cell apoptosis and extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation. Over the past decade, accumulating evidence indicates the essential role of mitophagy in the pathogenesis of IVDD and OA. Importantly, strategies by the regulation of mitophagy exert beneficial effects in the pre-clinical experiments. Given the importance and novelty of mitophagy, we provide an overview of mitophagy pathways and discuss the roles of mitophagy in IVDD and OA. We also highlight the potential of targeting mitophagy for the treatment of degenerative joint diseases.