Difference Between Cartilage and Bone

Bones and cartilage are very important parts of our body, they help support the muscles and the body in general. Both are structures characterized by having a certain hardness and a lot of resistance, but they differ from each other due to the specific functions that each of them fulfills.

In this sense, we present in this article the differences between cartilage and bone, starting from their brief definitions and then summarizing them at the end of it.


It can be said briefly that cartilage is the connective tissues of the body. In this way, there are different types of cartilage:

  • Hyaline cartilage : it is the most abundant and is found mainly in the bronchial tubes, larynx, nose, and trachea, at the end of long bones and in the embryonic skeleton and serves to provide structure and smooth movement to the body.
  • Fibrocartilage : is a hard form of cartilage found in intervertebral discs and joints, such as the knee and hip. This provides rigidity and structure to the attached structures.
  • Elastic cartilage : it is more flexible and is present in the external ear, auditory tubes, and the epiglottis.

On the other hand, cartilage does not have blood vessels. In joints, cartilage covers the ends of bones and acts to absorb force from shocks to prevent bones from rubbing against each other. Similarly, the main functions of cartilage are to maintain the shape and flexibility of fleshy appendages such as ears and nose, support the respiratory tract, among others.


Bones are the hard tissues that make up the skeletal structure of the body and their general function is to provide the necessary support to the body. The word bone comes from the Latin -ossum- which refers to the hard parts that form the skeleton. They are made up of cells that are made up of water and mineral salts such as phosphorus and calcium.

There are different types of bones, among which we can mention:

  • According to their structure, bones can be compact or spongy . Compact bones predominate in the appendicular skeleton (limbs) and are adequate to resist bending and torsion. Cancellous bones predominate in the axial skeleton (central axis of the body) and are adequate to resist compression and tension forces generated in this region.
  • According to their morphology, the bones can be long like the bones of the extremities, flat like the shoulder blade and the bones of the central part of the sternum, short like those located in the fingers, wrist and ankles, irregular like the vertebrae and sesamoid like the bones of the kneecaps.

The bones are made up of three layers, the periosteum (it is the layer that covers the bone), the internal part (it contains spongy tissue where bone marrow and blood cells are produced) and the epiphysis (they constitute the ends or endings of the bone.

Finally, the bones perform different functions in the body such as allowing motor skills (movement), producing blood cells and protecting the organs from different impacts.

Having presented the definitions of cartilage and bone, it can be said that the most important differences between them are:

  • Cartilage is softer tissue while bone is much harder.
  • Cartilage reduces joint friction while bones make up the skeleton and aid in movement.
  • Cartilage does not have blood vessels while bones have blood vessels.
  • Cartilage supports the fleshy appendages of the body, and bones support the body in general.

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