Shoulder Anatomy 101

Knowledge of the shoulder will help you understand the different shoulder problems

In the video below, Dr. Seade explains and reviews:

  • Basic shoulder anatomy 101 – learn about the different bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons in the shoulder.
  • What can cause the shoulder to dislocate or “pop out”.
  • What is the rotator cuff.

The deltoid muscle is the most superficial and is very essential for normal shoulder function. It covers the anterior, middle and posterior part of the shoulder.The deltoid muscle can easily be felt on your shoulder.

If we remove the deltoid muscles we get to the next layer of muscles. These include the important pectoralis muscles, biceps attachments and rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff muscles help rotate the arm and attach to the top of the humerus, hence the name, “rotator cuff.”

There are four rotator cuff muscles: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor (not all pictured).

These are the ones that tear when you have rotator cuff problems. See section on impingement and rotator cuff tears in this web site.

As we remove more of the surrounding muscles, we are left with only the rotator cuff muscles. All four of them originate on the scapula (shoulder blade) and attach onto the humeral head (top of the humerus). They attach onto the greater and lesser tuberosities (see bony anatomy picture below).

Once the rotator cuff muscles have been removed, we are left with the shoulder capsule and glenohumeral ligaments. When these are damaged or injured one can get pathological conditions such as shoulder instability (ligaments are too loose) or frozen shoulder (ligaments are too tight).

With all of the muscles, tendons and ligaments removed we are left with the bones which make up the shoulder. These joints can get arthritic and subsequently cause pain. See section on shoulder arthritis in the website.

You are now a graduate of Shoulder Anatomy 101.

This resource has been provided by Edward Seade, M.D. as general information only. Additional information can be found by visiting our clinic. Please call for an appointment at 512-583-0219

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