Articular hyaline cartilage is a highly specialized connective tissue of the diarthrodial joints functioning in our body. It is the white shiny gristle that you have seen covering the end of a chicken bone, cow bone, deer bone, and even people bone.
Articular cartilage is devoid of blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerves therefore has a limited capacity for healing and repair. Articular hyaline cartilage is composed of water, dense extracellular matrix, tissue fluid, chondrocytes, collagen, proteoglycans, and aminogylcosides. The principal function of this 2-4 mm thick substance covering the bone inside of a joint is to provide a smooth lubricated surface for articulation and to facilitate transmissions of significant loads with its viscoelastic properties and low frictional coefficient.
Just as the tread on your car tires, the hylaine articular cartilagfe also develops wear, thinning, roughness, flaps, and fissures. These changes decrease the performance causing dysfunction and symptomatology with crepitation, grinding, popping, snapping, stiffness after sitting and driving, decreased flexibility, catching, puffiness and even swelling.
Chondromalacia is the diagnosis of these degenerative changes to the articular hyaline cartilage. The wear continues to complete loss of the articular hyaline cartilage with exposed subchondral bone representing osteoarthritis.