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Supraspinatus muscle

Recommended video: Rotator cuff muscles [08:11]
Attachments, innervation and functions of the rotator cuff muscles.
Supraspinatus muscle (Musculus supraspinatus)

Supraspinatus is one of the rotator cuff muscles, along with infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis muscles. Supraspinatus is located deep to the trapezius muscle in the posterior scapular region, extending from the supraspinous fossa of scapula to the proximal humerus.

Together with the other rotator cuff muscles, supraspinatus stabilizes the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint during the movements of the upper limb. Additionally, it assists in the abduction of the arm.

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of supraspinatus muscle.

Key facts about supraspinatus muscle
Origin Supraspinous fossa of scapula
Insertion Greater tubercle of humerus
Action Shoulder joint: abduction of arm, stabilization of the humeral head in the glenoid cavity
Innervation Suprascapular nerve (C5, C6)
Blood supply Suprascapular artery
  1. Origin and insertion
  2. Relations
  3. Innervation
  4. Blood supply 
  5. Function
  6. Sources
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Origin and insertion

Supraspinatus is the most superior of the four rotator cuff muscles. It is a small triangular-shaped muscle, located on the posterior aspect of the scapula. It originates from the medial aspect of the supraspinous fossa, a concave depression located above the spine of the scapula.

The muscle fibers converge onto a tendon that runs inferior to the acromion of the scapula. After passing over the glenohumeral joint it inserts onto the superior facet on the greater tubercle of humerus.


Supraspinatus lies deep to the trapezius muscle and superior to the spine of the scapula and infraspinatus muscle. The tendon of supraspinatus is separated from the coracoacromial ligament, the acromion and the deltoid muscle by the subacromial bursa.


Supraspinatus is innervated by the suprascapular nerve, formed by the anterior rami of spinal nerves C5 and C6.

Blood supply 

Supraspinatus receives arterial supply from the suprascapular artery, a branch of the thyrocervical trunk of subclavian artery. The suprascapular artery passes through the suprascapular notch,  along with the suprascapular nerve to supply supraspinatus. 

Supraspinatus sometimes receives a collateral blood supply via the dorsal scapular artery. Venous drainage is conveyed by the same-named veins which accompany the arteries and drain into the subclavian vein.


During movements of the glenohumeral joint, the supraspinatus muscle participates in the stabilization of the head of humerus in the joint. It also assists the deltoid muscle in abduction of the arm at the glenohumeral joint. 

Learn more about the supraspinatus and other muscles of the rotator cuff with the following quiz.

Supraspinatus muscle: want to learn more about it?

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