Cartilage Facts



  • Cartilage is a rubbery substance used in various places around the body. You can feel cartilage in your ear if you move it back and forward.
  • Cartilage is made from cells called chondrocytes embedded in a jelly-like ground substance with fibres of collagen, all wrapped in an envelope of tough fibres.
  • There are three types: hyaline, fibrous and elastic.
  • Hyaline cartilage is the most widespread in your body. It is almost clear, pearly white and quite stiff.
  • Hyaline cartilage is used in many of the joints and ribs between bones to cushion them against impacts.
  • Fibrous cartilage is really tough cartilage used in between the bones of the spine and in the knee.
  • Cartilage in the knee makes two dish shapes called a menisci between the thigh and shin bones. Footballers often damage these cartilages.
  • Elastic cartilage is very flexible and used in your airways, nose and ears.
  • Cartilage grows quicker than bone, and the skeletons of babies in the womb are mostly cartilage, which gradually ossifies (hardens to bone).
  • Osteoarthritis occurs when joint cartilage breaks down, making certain movements painful.