[ kahr-tuh-lij ]

Cartilage is a strong yet flexible tissue found in our bodies. It acts like a cushion between our bones, providing support and reducing friction during movement. Think of it as a soft padding that helps our joints glide smoothly and absorb shocks when we walk, run, or jump.

Cartilage is made up of special cells called chondrocytes that are embedded in a tough, gel-like substance called the matrix. This matrix is made of collagen fibers and proteins, which give cartilage its strength and elasticity. It's found in places like our joints, nose, ears, and rib cage.

While cartilage is quite tough, it doesn't have a good blood supply, which makes it difficult for the body to repair itself when it gets damaged. Injuries or wear and tear over time can lead to cartilage problems, causing pain, stiffness, and trouble moving our joints. When cartilage is damaged, treatments may involve surgery or therapies that help stimulate new cartilage growth or repair.