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Subscapularis

Other Terms: Subscapularis muscle, Musculus subscapularis, Muscle subscapulaire

Muscle parts

None

Latin name

Musculus subscapularis

Latin muscle parts

None

Group

Shoulder joint muscle – rotator cuff

Etymology

In English, this muscle’s name literally translates as the muscle under the spade or trowel. The Latin prefix sub- meaning “under” is added to the Latin scapula, which is derived from the Latin term scapter meaning “a digger.” The scapula’s resemblance to a spade used for digging is probably responsible for its name.

Origin

Surface of the subscapular fossa and the tendinous intermuscular septa of the subscapular fossa.

Insertion

Lesser tubercle of the humerus and the articular capsule of the shoulder joint.

Action

Medial rotation of the humerus – the subscapularis is the primary medial rotator of the humerus. Horizontal flexor (flexes the abducted humerus) – it works with the pectoralis major in flexing the abducted humerus. Abduction of the humerus – the muscle’s superior fibers assist the deltoid and supraspinatus with this movement. Stabilizes the shoulder joint - being part of the rotator cuff this muscle plays a prominent role in stabilization of the glenohumeral joint. It is active during most movements of the joint because it is acting to stabilize the head of the humerus in the glenoid cavity. It acts with the infraspinatus to hold the humeral head down during initial abduction of humerus.

Nerve supply

Upper and lower subscapular nerves (C5 and C6)

Blood supply

Small muscular branches from the suprascapular artery, axillary artery, and subscapular artery; the dorsal scapular artery has numerous branches to the muscle.

Latin

Musculus subscapularis

French

Muscle subscapulaire

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