Function of the articular cartilage

Function of the articular cartilage

To understand the function of articular cartilage, we first need to understand what a joint is. A joint is like a connection between two ligaments. It works much like a hinge and allows us to move. The bones that make up the joint are in turn covered with a protective cartilage. The cartilage is effectively like a very thin sponge whose function is to act as a shock absorber. Together with the synovial fluid, the cartilage protects the bones that move in the joint. In other words, synovial fluid and cartilage are very important components for the normal functioning of the joint. We therefore call them the patches of the joint. They allow the ligaments to move smoothly without moving against and damaging each other.

Cartilage is made up of cartilage cells embedded in different types of fibres. The collagen fibres protect the cartilage. The aggregates attract water so that the cartilage can maintain its sponge-like and shock-absorbing character. Cartilage cells are like small building blocks. They maintain and rebuild the cartilage as the older cartilage naturally breaks down. It is a constant process in all joints.

The cartilage is sensitive because it has no blood vessels. It receives nutrients through the synovial fluid and slag products are transported from the cartilage in the same way. It is important to exercise regularly to maintain the cartilage and keep it circulating. It then maintains its elastic and shock-absorbing properties, promoting the rebuilding of new cartilage.

How does getting older affect the articular cartilage?

Whether we are humans, horses or dogs, there is a change in the articular cartilage as we get older. The protective collagen fibres become more rigid and less elastic and the moisture-binding aggregates become fewer and fewer. The cartilage becomes less shock-absorbent and more fragile. The load on the joint often becomes more uneven. As a result, the cartilage can break down and eventually disappear altogether. This process can also occur in younger people and animals if the joint has been damaged. It is therefore important to maintain and support the joint with hyaluronic acid supplements, preferably in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, to maintain a healthy joint.

The following products for horses and dogs contain hyaluronic acid in combination with glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate. These three components are naturally present in the cartilage and work synergistically to keep the joint functioning normally.

For horse
Chondrogen 100 Pro is a feed supplement for horses. Recommended for the training and older horse to promote optimal joint function.

For dog
Complete are meat-flavoured chewable tablets for dogs. Recommended for the active, competitive or older dog.