Symmetric degenerative changes means the x-ray reveals arthritis in the 1st MPJ (metatrsophalangeal Joint) AKA MTP. Symmetric indicates that the entire joint has similar types of joint narrowing. This rules out certain rare disorders that can cause asymmetric changes (it is actually a good thing to have symmetric damage, because it means you do not have Gouty arthritis, Reiters syndrome, Psoriatic arthritis, etc. Basically, your 1st MPJ has narrowing which occurs commonly in people who are athletes or overweight. If it is very painful, surgery is a good option.