What is cartilage made of?
Cartilage is a strong and smooth tissue made of “chondrocytes,” or specialized cartilage cells. These cells produce a matrix of collagen, proteoglycans (a special type of protein), and other non-collagenous proteins. These materials help cartilage attract water and give it its shape and specific properties.
If the cartilage begins to degenerate with age or if it were to become damaged from an injury, the joint loses some of that protective cushion and exposes underlying bone ends. This damage can lead to excess stress of those areas of bone that are ill-equipped to handle strong forces.