Cartilage is a smooth and flexible elastic tissue which protects the ends of bones. This rubber-like padding is also a structural component of body parts like the ears, nose, rib cage, and intervertebral discs. It is softer than a bone but is a firm connective tissue which is made up of chondrocytes, cells which maintain the cartilaginous matrix.
There are three types of cartilage: hyaline, elastic, and fibrocartilage.
Hyaline cartilage is strong, low-friction, and wear-resistant as it is located within joints to bear weight. Elastic cartilage is more flexible; it is found in the ear, epiglottis, and larynx. Fibrocartilage is tougher and less elastic; it is found in the knee and vertebrae.