Supraspinatus muscle


The supraspinatus muscle arises from the Supraspinous fossa of the shoulder blade and sits on the large hump (Greater tuberosity) of the humerus (Humerus) at.
He is above the Spina scapulae.
In the shoulder joint, the supraspinatus muscle causes an external rotation and a removal of the arm from the body. In addition, the muscle pulls over the capsule of the shoulder joint and is fused with it. This tenses and strengthens the capsule through the muscle. This holds the humerus head in the shoulder joint.

Origin / insertion / innervation

The supraspinatus muscle is one of four muscles in the so-called "rotator cuff", a special grouping of muscles on the shoulder.
It has its origin in the "Supraspinous fossa", A depression that forms on the shoulder blade above the shoulder bone (Spina scapulae) lies. The shoulder bone can be felt through the skin on the shoulder blade as a protruding bone that ascends to the side and ends at the shoulder.

The insertion of the supraspinatus muscle is the greater tuberosity, a large bony protrusion on the humerus that lies approximately to the side below the head of the bone. On the way between insertion and origin, the supraspinatus muscle runs through a narrow shoulder that is formed by the roof of the shoulder and the head of the humerus.
The origin and insertion of the supraspinatus muscle give the muscle the function of lifting the arm laterally upwards, especially when starting to move. The supraspinatus muscle is innervated by the suprascapularis nerve. It is made up of the spinal nerves C4, C5 and C6.

Regardless of the form of the impingement syndrome, the affected patients have Pain, especially when moving the arm to the side.
When this movement is done against resistance, the pain increases. The pain occurs mainly in one Lateral guidance of the arm between 90 ° and 120 ° on (painful arc). If the arm is raised further above the head, the pain subsides again. The humerus head goes deeper in the subacromial space and thus leaves more space for the muscles.
The diagnosis of impingement syndrome can be easily made by the corresponding symptoms and a X-ray diagnostics represent. Inflammation of the capsule, calcium deposits or inflammation of the muscle tendons can be avoided by means of Ultrasonic represent.
The therapy consists in Cooling, pain medication, and physiotherapy. If symptoms persist, the impingement syndrome can be caused by a surgery can be remedied by clearing out the subacromial space and thereby expanding it. However, this therapy option does not always provide an improvement in the symptoms and is therefore only used after the conservative options have failed.

A degenerative process of the supraspinatus tendon is called Tendinosis calcarea designated. This is caused by the deposition of calcium salts on the tendon. The patients suffer from acute, severe pain attacks in the shoulder.
The arm is then held close to the body to prevent the Musculature to relieve and is massively restricted in its mobility due to the pain. Often the tendon portion is below the Collarbone particularly painful on pressure. If the tendinosis calcarea is chronic, the pain may be less severe and permanent. Women over the age of 30 are particularly often affected by this disease.

A Tear of the supraspinatus muscle as part of a Rotator cuff tear (Rotator cuff rupture) leads to a Loss of function and with it one severe limitation of shoulder lift (Abduction). If the tendon of the supraspinatus muscle is completely torn, active abduction is impossible.
An attempt by the patient that shoulder lifting it will only result in a shrug.


The Tendon of the supraspinatus muscle is particularly stressed during life and for this reason often tears spontaneously after the age of 50. this leads to severe pain and one Loss of muscle functionso that the external rotation and guidance of the arm away from the body are only more difficult or no longer possible at all.

Another important condition of the supraspinatus muscle is this Impingement Syndrome.
Here, the supraspinatus tendon is pinched under the bony protrusion (acromion) of the shoulder joint and thus leads to it severe pain. A distinction is made between various causes that lead to the tendon becoming trapped in the subacromial space.
With the so-called Outlet impingement the subacromial space is restricted by the surrounding anatomical structures. These include, above all, changes in the shape of the bony protrusion (acromion) Acromion porn or Bone deposits (Osteophytes) in the joint space due to degenerative phenomena.
The other form of impingement syndrome is that Non-outlet impingement. The reasons for this are Inflammation of the shoulder joint capsule, or one Lesion of the muscles of the Rotator cuff. These can become inflamed and swollen from the injury, shrinking the subacromial space and pinching the supraspinatus tendon.
Tears the rotator cuff completely, the entire joint capsule loses stability, which means that the humeral head can no longer be held in its position and thus slips under the acromion. This case is called Instability simpingement.

Pain in the supraspinatus muscle

The Supraspinatus muscleInjury or excessive stress can cause severe pain, especially the tendon.
Most often, a bony constriction that the supraspinatus muscle passes through in its course causes problems, as it squeezes the muscle and its tendons and thereby disrupts the blood supply.

This pain problem occurs when the tightness of the bony becomes relatively too narrow when the supraspinatus muscle is tense and the muscle with its tendon no longer fits smoothly through it. As the muscles are more and more constricted as the arm is raised upwards, the arm posture is particularly important 60 ° to 120 ° painful for those affected and sometimes cannot be performed at all.
Because of the pain it causes, this phenomenon is also called "painful arc", In German" painful arch ". The clinical picture is called "Impingement Syndrome" designated.

Supraspinatus muscle pain can also be triggered by a tear in the muscle. This is a common injury. It can happen on the one hand during sport with powerful and sweeping movements with the arms or on the other hand through wear and additional irritation of the tissue, for example through an impingement syndrome.
The pain is usually accompanied by a loss of function of the supraspinatus muscle, which can then be compensated by the surrounding muscles in the course and possibly with the help of a treatment.

Appointment with a shoulder specialist

I would be happy to advise you!

Who am I?
My name is Carmen Heinz. I am a specialist in orthopedics and trauma surgery in the specialist team of .

The shoulder joint is one of the most complicated joints in the human body.

Therefore, the treatment of the shoulder (rotator cuff, impingement syndrome, calcified shoulder (tendinosis calcarea, biceps tendon, etc.) requires a lot of experience.
I treat a wide variety of shoulder diseases in a conservative way.
The aim of any therapy is treatment with full recovery without surgery.
Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

You can find me in:

  • Lumedis - your orthopedic surgeon
    Kaiserstrasse 14
    60311 Frankfurt am Main

Directly to the online appointment arrangement
Unfortunately, it is currently only possible to make an appointment with private health insurers. I hope for your understanding!
You can find more information about myself at Carmen Heinz.