Cartilage definition | Back Pain and Neck Pain Medical Glossary

Cartilage Definition

Cartilage is the connective tissue that surrounds the ends of bones to allow for smooth joint articulation (movement).

Cartilage is made up of strands of collagen and proteoglycans, and it mostly contains water. The dense, elastic tissue supports and cushions the joints.

The tissue cells are embedded in a compact matrix of cavities (lacunae) enabling the cartilage to bear pressure and tension. Wear and tear on cartilage can cause it to degenerate. This degeneration is often referred to as osteoarthritis.