The focus of this study was to identify changes in protein expression within the bone tissue environment between osteopenic and control bone tissue of human femoral neck patients with osteoarthritis. Femoral necks were compared from osteopenic patients and age-matched controls. A new method of bone protein extraction was developed to provide a swift, clear view of the bone proteome. Relative changes in protein expression between control and osteopenic samples were quantified using difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) technology after affinity chromatographic depletion of albumin and IgG. The proteins that were determined to be differentially expressed were identified using standard liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) and database searching techniques. In order to rule out blood contamination, blood from age-matched osteoporotic, osteopenic and controls were analyzed in a similar manner. Image analysis of the DIGE gels indicated that 145 spots in the osteopenic bone samples changed at least ± 1.5-fold from the control samples (P < 0.05). Three of the proteins were identified by LC/MS/MS. Of the proteins that increased in the osteopenic femurs, two were especially significant carbonic anhydrase I and phosphoglycerate kinase 1. Apolipoprotein A-I was the most prominent protein that significantly decreased in the osteopenic femurs. The blood samples revealed no significant differences between groups for any of these proteins. In conclusion, carbonic anhydrase I, phosphoglycerate kinase 1 and apolipoprotein A-I appeared to be the most significant variations of proteins in patients with osteopenia and osteoarthritis.