Infraspinatus Muscle Anatomy

Overview
Origin Infraspinous fossa
Insertion Greater tubercle of the humerus (posterior aspect)
Action External rotation of the arm
Stabilisation of the humerus in the glenohumeral joint
Nerve Suprascapular nerve (C5, C6)
Artery Suprascapular and circumflex scapular arteries

Location

The infraspinatus muscle is a thick and triangular muscle of the shoulder. It is one of the four rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder and occupies a large part of the infraspinous fossa (which is located on the posterior surface of the scapula). The remaining three rotator cuff muscles are the supraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis [1]Williams JM, Sinkler MA, Obremskey W. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Infraspinatus Muscle. [Updated 2021 Aug 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. … Continue reading [2]Maruvada S, Madrazo-Ibarra A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Rotator Cuff. [Updated 2021 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: … Continue reading.

The infraspinatus muscle is located on the posterior surface of the scapula. It’s located inferior to the supraspinatus and superior to the teres minor (situated between these two muscles). The infraspinatus originates medially at the infraspinatus fossa of the scapula and inserts laterally at the middle facet of the greater tubercle of the humerus. The supraspinatus and infraspinatus are closely related anatomically to one another due to only be separated by the spine of the scapula. Therefore, the supraspinatus and infraspinatus are considered as one functional unit. Moreover, the infraspinatus muscle is commonly fused together with the teres minor muscle [3]Jeno SH, Munjal A, Schindler GS. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Arm Supraspinatus Muscle. 2021 Aug 7. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: … Continue reading [4]Elzanie A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Deltoid Muscle. 2021 Jul 26. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30725741. [5]McCausland C, Sawyer E, Eovaldi BJ, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Shoulder Muscles. 2021 Aug 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. … Continue reading [6]Kadi R, Milants A, Shahabpour M. Shoulder Anatomy and Normal Variants. J Belg Soc Radiol. 2017 Dec 16;101(Suppl 2):3. doi: 10.5334/jbr-btr.1467. PMID: 30498801; PMCID: PMC6251069..

The fibres of the infraspinatus muscle run almost parallel to the teres major and minor. The fibres are directed towards the shoulder. The infraspinatus tendon is sometimes separated by bursa from the capsule of the shoulder joint, which may communicate with the joint cavity [7]Jeno SH, Munjal A, Schindler GS. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Arm Supraspinatus Muscle. 2021 Aug 7. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: … Continue reading [8]Elzanie A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Deltoid Muscle. 2021 Jul 26. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30725741. [9]McCausland C, Sawyer E, Eovaldi BJ, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Shoulder Muscles. 2021 Aug 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. … Continue reading [10]Kadi R, Milants A, Shahabpour M. Shoulder Anatomy and Normal Variants. J Belg Soc Radiol. 2017 Dec 16;101(Suppl 2):3. doi: 10.5334/jbr-btr.1467. PMID: 30498801; PMCID: PMC6251069..

Origin & Insertion

The infraspinatus originates at the infraspinous fossa of the scapula and then inserts at the middle facet of the greater tubercle of the humerus [11]Jeno SH, Munjal A, Schindler GS. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Arm Supraspinatus Muscle. 2021 Aug 7. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: … Continue reading [12]Elzanie A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Deltoid Muscle. 2021 Jul 26. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30725741. [13]McCausland C, Sawyer E, Eovaldi BJ, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Shoulder Muscles. 2021 Aug 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. … Continue reading [14]Kadi R, Milants A, Shahabpour M. Shoulder Anatomy and Normal Variants. J Belg Soc Radiol. 2017 Dec 16;101(Suppl 2):3. doi: 10.5334/jbr-btr.1467. PMID: 30498801; PMCID: PMC6251069..

Actions

The primary action of the infraspinatus muscle is lateral rotation of the shoulder. Lateral rotation of the shoulder is when the humerus/arm rotates clockwise (e.g rotating in a direction towards the back/posterior of the body when in the anatomical position) [15]Maruvada S, Madrazo-Ibarra A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Rotator Cuff. [Updated 2021 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: … Continue reading [16]Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 2017..

In addition to external rotation, the infraspinatus also plays a role in stabilising the humerus in the glenohumeral joint. The head of the humerus sits within the glenohumeral joint and stabilising it is important. This stabilisation prevents damage to the surrounding structures. Someone who has an inability to maintain the humeral head in the glenoid fossa may be referred to as having ‘shoulder instability’ [17]Maruvada S, Madrazo-Ibarra A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Rotator Cuff. [Updated 2021 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: … Continue reading [18]Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 2017..

Innervation

Both the infraspinatus and supraspinatus are innervated by the suprascapular nerve. This nerve comes from the upper portion of the brachial plexus from the nerve roots C5 and C6 [19]Maruvada S, Madrazo-Ibarra A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Rotator Cuff. [Updated 2021 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: … Continue reading.

Blood Supply

Blood is supplied to the infraspinatus from the suprascapular and circumflex scapular arteries [20]Williams JM, Sinkler MA, Obremskey W. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Infraspinatus Muscle. [Updated 2021 Aug 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. … Continue reading [21]Maruvada S, Madrazo-Ibarra A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Rotator Cuff. [Updated 2021 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: … Continue reading.

Images

Infraspinatus muscle

A picture of the infraspinatus muscle in isolation

infraspinatus muscle origin

The infraspinatus muscle originates at the infraspinous fossa of the scapula (marked in red) and inserts at the middle facet of the greater tubercle of the humerus (marked in blue).

posterior view of the rotator cuff muscles

A posterior view of the rotator cuff muscles.

subscapularis anterior view

An anterior view of the final rotator cuff muscle, the subscapularis.

Want some flashcards to help you remember this information? Then click the link below:
infraspinatus flashcards

References

References
1, 20 Williams JM, Sinkler MA, Obremskey W. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Infraspinatus Muscle. [Updated 2021 Aug 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513255/
2, 15, 17, 19, 21 Maruvada S, Madrazo-Ibarra A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Rotator Cuff. [Updated 2021 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441844/
3, 7, 11 Jeno SH, Munjal A, Schindler GS. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Arm Supraspinatus Muscle. 2021 Aug 7. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30725887.
4, 8, 12 Elzanie A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Deltoid Muscle. 2021 Jul 26. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30725741.
5, 9, 13 McCausland C, Sawyer E, Eovaldi BJ, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Shoulder Muscles. 2021 Aug 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 30521257.
6, 10, 14 Kadi R, Milants A, Shahabpour M. Shoulder Anatomy and Normal Variants. J Belg Soc Radiol. 2017 Dec 16;101(Suppl 2):3. doi: 10.5334/jbr-btr.1467. PMID: 30498801; PMCID: PMC6251069.
16, 18 Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 2017.