Major Types of Cartilage

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Major Landmarks of Bones

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 What Is Cartilage?
  • 1:14 Hyaline Cartilage
  • 2:15 Fibrocartilage
  • 3:06 Elastic Cartilage
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Betsy Chesnutt

Betsy teaches college physics, biology, and engineering and has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

Cartilage is an important tissue in your body that covers the ends of long bones, acts as a shock absorber in your spine, and protects and supports many body structures. In this lesson, you will learn about the three types of cartilage.

What is Cartilage?

Cartilage is a type of rigid connective tissue that provides support to many structures in your body, like your nose, trachea, and ears. Cartilage also covers the ends of long bones to protect the bone from damage in joints and forms the model for developing bones and bones that are healing following a fracture. Cartilage is more flexible and less rigid than bone tissue, and as a result, is found in areas of your body that need structure but also need to have some flexibility.

The cells that make cartilage are called chondrocytes. Chondrocytes produce an extracellular matrix that is made of collagen fibers embedded in a gel-like ground substance of proteoglycan and elastin fibers. As cartilage forms, chondrocytes produce more and more extracellular matrix until they eventually become completely surrounded. They then are left sitting in small openings within the extracellular matrix, called lacunae. Cartilage is classified based on the relative amount and type of collagen and elastin fibers that are present in the extracellular matrix.

Hyaline Cartilage

Hyaline cartilage is very smooth and contains mostly type II collagen fibers in its extracellular matrix. The word 'hyaline' means 'clear,' and hyaline cartilage is a translucent blue color with a smooth, glassy appearance.

It is the most abundant type of cartilage in the human body, and in adults, is found in the nose, the ends of the ribs, the larynx and trachea, and the ends of long bones, where it is known as articular cartilage. In babies and children, hyaline cartilage is also found in the growth plates where it is slowly turned into bone tissue as the bones grow longer with age.

Hyaline cartilage is very smooth and slippery. In your joints, it covers the ends of the long bones and helps reduce friction between bones in the joint. Because hyaline cartilage does not have its own blood supply, it does not heal well if it is damaged. Over time, damaged hyaline cartilage can lead to a painful joint condition called arthritis.


Fibrocartilage contains a large amount of fibrous tissue made of both type I and type II collagen. Although it has the same type of collagen as hyaline cartilage, the arrangement of collagen fibers in fibrocartilage is different and this makes it less smooth but more strong and tough. Fibrocartilage is the densest and most tough type of cartilage, and it's found in areas of the body that experience a lot of wear and tear, such as the intervertebral discs and the meniscus in the knee joint.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account