Articular cartilage is the white gristle covering the ends of joint bones, where they articulate.



Outerbridge Grade 0 cartilage - normal patellar cartilage


Normal joint cartilage of femur (below) and patella (above) in the knee joint. Grade 0 on the Outerbridge scale


What is articular cartilage composed of?

The white articular cartilage has a very special internal structure, with the cartilage cells suspended in pockets within a background matrix.

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Grading of articular cartilage damage

Surgeons will grade the damage they see through the arthroscope according to the 'Outerbridge' scale.

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Articular cartilage damage and arthritis

Articular cartilage is also called joint cartilage or hyaline cartilage. It is damage to the articular cartilage which is called 'arthritis' and in the knee all efforts are geared towards preventing any damage or breakdown of this all-essential joint surface, as it has a poor blood supply and does not heal well if damaged.

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Joint cartilage
Hyaline cartilage

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...

Cartilage disorders -

Classification -

Cartilage repair -

Short course -

Karen Hambly2008 - Articular cartilage repair - by Dr Karen Hambly (Physiotherapist)


eBook - Clearing up confusion about knee cartilage

eBook authored by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor), explaining the difference between articular cartilage and meniscus cartilage. Free to download.