Trabecular damage may play a role in hip fracture, bone remodeling, and prosthesis loosening. We hypothesized that when trabecular bone is loaded beyond its elastic range, both the type and the amount of damage depend on the applied strains. Thirty specimens of trabecular bone from the bovine tibia underwent compression tests to one of three levels of strain (0.4. 1.0, and 2.5%) (n = 10 per group). The 0.4% level was a mechanically nondestructive control group that accounted for any systematic errors. Optical microscopy at magnifications as high as X200 was then used to quantify the trabecular damage for each group. The amount of damage in the yield group (1.0% strain) did not differ from that in the control group (p = 0.66), whereas damage in the post-ultimate strain group (2.5% strain) increased more than 3-fold (p & lt; 0.0008). Four types of damage were observed: transverse cracks, shear bands, parallel cracks, and complete fractures, of which the first two were dominant. These findings therefore indicate that damage occurs within trabeculae at yield. By comparison with our previous work, it can also be concluded that substantial modulus reductions in trabecular bone (as much as 60%) are caused by damage primarily within trabeculae. The ability to detect such damage clinically may improve in vivo estimates of whole-bone strength by identifying regions of densitometrically normal but mechanically compromised trabecular bone.