Cartilage in the Human Body

What is Cartilage?

Cartilage is defined as a type of connective tissue that provides structural support and protection for the body’s joints. It’s made from specialized cells called chondrocytes that produce a combination of collagen, proteoglycans and other non-collagenous proteins.

Major Functions of Cartilage

There are many roles that cartilage plays in the human body. For instance:

  • Cartilage helps to keep the joints from rubbing against each other.
  • Cartilage also helps to provide structure and protection for many of the body’s organs, such as the ear and nose.
  • Cartilage can also provide protection for the spinal cord and keep the bones from rubbing together.
  • Cartilage provides cushioning for the skeletal system and holds articular joints together.
  • It also acts as an elastic framework which allows bones to adjust their position relative to one another.

Points to Remember

  • Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that protects your body from injury and aids in movements.
  • The most common place you will find cartilage is in joints such as the knee and between the ribs to protect the lungs and heart.
  • Cartilage in your joints helps to cushion, lubricate, and provide flexibility to your movements.
  • Cartilage also acts as a protective covering for delicate tissues like those inside your ears or nose that would otherwise be exposed to damage from outside pressure.
  • It also provides support for bone joints; without cartilage to soften the bones’ edges during contact, they would quickly wear away.

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