Cartilage is the tough but flexible tissue that covers the ends of your bones at a joint. It also gives shape and support to other parts of your body, such as your ears, nose and windpipe. Healthy cartilage helps you move by allowing your bones to glide over each other. It also protects bones by preventing them from rubbing against each other.
Injured, inflamed, or damaged cartilage can cause symptoms such as pain and limited movement. It can also lead to joint damage and deformity. Causes of cartilage problems include
- Tears and injuries, such as sports injuries
- Genetic factors
- Other disorders, such as some types of arthritis
Osteoarthritis results from breakdown of cartilage.
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Treatments and Therapies
- Arthroscopy (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Can Glucosamine Supplements Protect My Knee Cartilage from Osteoarthritis? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Joint Replacement Surgery (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) Also in Spanish
- Costochondritis (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Enchondroma (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
- Hallux Rigidus (American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons) Also in Spanish
- Hip Labral Tear (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Osteochondrodysplasias (Merck & Co., Inc.) Also in Spanish
- Perichondritis (Merck & Co., Inc.) Also in Spanish
- Genetics Home Reference: familial osteochondritis dissecans (National Library of Medicine)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Periostin interaction with discoidin domain receptor-1 (DDR1) promotes cartilage degeneration.
- Article: Predictors of Osteochondral Lesions of the Talus in Patients Undergoing Broström-Gould...
- Article: Supraglottoplasty in Neonates under One Month of Age.
- Cartilage Disorders -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Find a Rheumatologist (American College of Rheumatology)
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Also in Spanish
- Cauliflower Ear (Nemours Foundation)
- Costochondritis (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Growth Plate Fractures (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) Also in Spanish
- Osteochondritis Dissecans (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation)
- Pectus excavatum repair - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish