What Is the Function of Spongy Bone?

University of Liverpool Faculty of Health & Life Sciences/CC-BY 2.0

Spongy bone, also called cancellous or trabecular bone, provides structural support and facilitates movement of the joints and limbs. Spongy bone is light and porous and found in most parts of the body and in other bones that do not typically endure large volumes of mechanical stress.

Spongy bone is found throughout the body and in virtually every long bone, short bone and sesamoid or circular bone. Spongy bones essentially act as shock absorbers; the human body endures high volumes of impacts each day through movements such as walking, skiing, running and jumping. Each stride and jump sends tiny shock waves through the skeletal system, and spongy bones help to absorb those impacts, which in turn prevents bones from breaking and prevents damage to their delicate frames. Spongy bones also contain tissues, veins and capillaries, which have intricate pathways and tunnels that deliver nutrients and vitamins throughout the rest of the bone and to other parts of the body. Most soft bones are found at the ends of compact bones and serve as key attachment sites for muscles, tendons and ligaments, which allow proper movement of the limbs. Lastly, spongy bones provide critical foundational support for organs such as the heart and lungs and protect the brain, uterus and other organs