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Bone Structure and Function Simplified

This article is a simplified explanation of how your bone is structured and what its main functions are. Bone does more than hold your body weight.

Bone Function Simplified

The structure of bone allows it to serve 3 important functions for our body. Bone tissue is able to:

  1. Supporting the weight of the body
  2. Produce blood cells (hematopoeisis)
  3. Store minerals (mostly Calcium).

Bone Types Simplified

Have you heard the famous phrase “form follows function”? In order to understand the function of bone its form or structure should be studied also.  I have previously talked about the different types of bones in the body but I will review them again below.

  • Long Bone: Long like your arm (femur)
  • Short Bone: Square list your wrist bones
  • Flat Bone: Flat like you breast bone (sternum)
  • Sesamoid Bone: Covers joints like your knee (patella)
  • Irregular Bone: Strange shaped like your vertebra or your jaw bones


Bone Structure Simplified

When examining many of these bone types we can observe they are made of the same types of tissues. A thin outer layer of hard compact bone to give the bone strength, and an inner layer of spongy bone to produce blood cells. To truly appreciate these tissues you also need to know how they are organized. I have also talked about the specialized cells of the bone , but I have listed the most important ones below.

Haversion Example


[easytable caption=”Bone Transport System”] Unit, Function,
Osteon, smallest unit of bone
Osteocyte,bone forming cell
Haversian Canal, Vertical Transport up the osteon
Volkmann’s Canal, Lateral Transport between osteons
Compact Bone, outer region of bone with osteons
Spongy Bony, inner region of bone with trabiculae

Analogies for Bone Anatomy

Bone can be thought of as a skyscraper with an elevator:

  • The entire skyscraper is the osteon.
  • The elevator of the building is like the Haversian Canal of the bone.
  • Each floor of a building is like the Volkmann’s Canal
  • Each office of the building represent an osteoctye



Bones is structured into osteons in its outer layer and trabeculae in its inner layer. These structures contribute to the bones ability produce blood cells, hold body weight, and store minerals.


Skyscraper image original

Bone images sources

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