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Rotator Cuff

Rotating Shoulders
Picmonic
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons which act to stabilize the shoulder. It is comprised of four muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. External rotation is done with the teres minor and infraspinatus, while internal rotation is controlled by the subscapularis. Abduction of the arm occurs through flexion of the supraspinatus.
7 KEY FACTS
External Rotation
Rotating Externally away from body

The rotator cuff is defined by different actions of its muscles. External rotation of the arm is controlled by the infraspinatus and teres minor.

Teres Minor
Teary Miner

This is a narrow, elongated muscle in the rotator cuff which acts to externally rotate the arm. It arises from the axillary border of the scapula and inserts on the greater tubercle of the humerus. The teres minor is seen in the posterior aspect of the scapula, below the infraspinatus. It is innervated by branches of the axillary nerve.

Infraspinatus
Infra-red-spine-ape

This is a thick triangular muscle in the infraspinatous fossa, which acts to externally rotate the arm. It originates in the infraspinatous fossa and inserts on the posterior facet of the greater tuberosity of the humerus. Innervation of this muscle comes from the suprascapular nerve.

Internal Rotation
Rotating Inward across body

Internal rotation of the humerus is another action of the rotator cuff. The subscapularis muscle carries out this function.

Subscapularis
Sub-scapula

The subscapularis is a large triangle-shaped muscle and works to internally rotate the humeral head. When the arm is raised, it draws the humerus forward and downward. It is a powerful defense to the front of the shoulder-joint, preventing displacement of the head of the humerus. It originates in the subscapular fossa and inserts in the humeral neck or lesser tuberosity of the humerus. The subscapularis is innervated by the upper and lower subscapular nerves.

Abduction
Abs-abducting

The rotator cuff also functions to abduct the arm, or raise the arm away from the midline. This is done with help from the suprapinatus.

Supraspinatus
Super-spine-ape

The suprapinatus is a small muscle of the upper back that originates from the supraspinatous fossa superior of the scapula and inserts in the greater tubercle of the humerus. It is innervated by the suprascapular nerve and functions to abduct the arm. This muscle helps with external rotation in conjunction with the infrapinatus and teres minor.

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