Shoulder Anatomy


Muscles & Tendons

Tendons attach muscle to bone. The rotator cuff is the deepest layer of tendons and muscles in the shoulder, located below deltoid. These muscles are responsible for controlling the many directions of movement possible at the shoulder. The rotator cuff provides additional stability for the joint by holding the head in the glenoid socket. 

Subscapularis attaches to the lesser tuberosity. The remaining rotator cuff muscles attach to the greater tuberosity.

On top of the muscle but beneath the acromion lies an enclosed space with a small quantity of lubricating fluid. This is called the bursa, its function is to reduce friction between the rotator cuff tendons and the overlying bone

This diagram shows the space between the acromion bone and the humeral head. This is called the suba-acromial space and it is narrow tunnel that the tendon of supraspinatus passes to attach to the humeral head that also contains the sub-acromial bursa.

This classic diagram shows a lateral view of the shoulder joint with the humeral head removed. It shows the relationship between the rotator cuff tendons and shoulder joint ligaments.

© Peter James Hughes 2015