Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2009

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functional anatomy BY CHRISTY CAEL SUBSCAPULARIS The subscapularis is a broad, flat muscle that lies between the scapula and the posterior rib cage. It covers the anterior surface of the scapula and lies superficial to the serratus anterior muscle. The subscapularis is one of four muscles that make up the rotator cuff, a small group of muscles deep in the shoulder that surround the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff muscles all originate on the scapula and insert on the humeral head. Together, these small muscles stabilize the humeral head within the glenoid fossa of the scapula. Each muscle has a specific role in steering the head of the humerus within the shallow glenoid fossa as the arm moves into different positions. The subscapularis is the largest rotator cuff muscle and the only internal rotator of the four. Primarily, the subscapularis SUBSCAPULARIS Actions • Rotates the shoulder internally Attachments • Origin: subscapular fossa of the scapula • Insertion: lesser tubercle of the humerus Innervation • Upper and lower subscapular nerves • C5–6 stabilizes the humeral head during powerful downward movements of the shoulder and arm. It helps maintain the alignment of the glenohumeral joint as large prime mover muscles, such as pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, teres major, and deltoid, rotate internally and extend the shoulder, pulling the raised arm downward. This is an essential movement for activities like throwing and hitting overhead, as in tennis or volleyball. In daily life, this movement helps close a vertical window or the hatch of a car. Executing overhead motions requires a precise visit massageandbodywork.com to access your digital magazine 87

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