Cartilage is a type of hard, thick, slippery tissue that coats the
ends of bones where they meet with other bones to form a joint. Cartilage lines
the joint space between bones throughout the body, including the spine and the
rib cage. It acts as a protective cushion between bones to absorb the stress
applied to joints during movement.
Cartilage is made up of protein strands called collagen that form a
tough, meshlike framework. The mesh is filled with substances that hold water,
much like a sponge. When weight is placed on cartilage, water is squeezed out
of the mesh. When weight is taken off, the water returns. Cartilage does not
contain blood vessels or nerves.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Freddie H. Fu, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
Current as of
April 5, 2012
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 05, 2012
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