Shoulder Joint: Movements, Bones & Muscles – Human Anatomy | Kenhub

Shoulder Joint: Movements, Bones & Muscles – Human Anatomy | Kenhub

Hello everyone! This is Joao from Kenhub.
Today, I’m doing a tutorial on the shoulder joint, as you can see already from the images
that are displayed on your screen. And what I’m going to do is talk about the most mobile
joint in your body but also the one that is most susceptible to injury. You have probably
heard of someone close to you that has had some sort of shoulder dislocation.
Now, what you have on the screen, on your left, you will find the posterior side of
the joint, and on your right, you can find the anterior view of the shoulder joint. One
thing that you need to know about this joint is about the type. This is a synovial joint,
a ball-and-socket, which, as you know, ball-and-socket joints have great freedom of movement.
Now, let’s start talking also about the articulating surfaces. The articulating surfaces of the
shoulder joint is the head of the humerus, the rounded head of the humerus, and also
the shallow and pear-shaped glenoid cavity of the scapula. Keep in mind that both these
articulating surfaces are covered by hyaline cartilage—very important.
Another characteristic about these two articulating surfaces is that the head of the humerus is
about three to four times larger than the articular surface of the scapula or the glenoid
cavity. That is why, to help correct this difference, you’re going to find on the edges
of the glenoid cavity a fibrocartilage rim as I’m drawing right now. This fibrocartilage
rim is known as the glenoidal lip or the glenoid labrum. Now, it’s important to know that the
size of the articulating surfaces have an advantage. It allows an increased range of
shoulder motion, but it also has a disadvantage and that is that it compromises the stability
of the joint. That’s why there is always a lot of problems associated to it. So weak
ligaments and capsule, the joint is primarily stabilized by the rotator cuff muscles—another
muscles that we’re going to see later on this tutorial.
As you can see here on this image, I zoomed in on the anterior view of the shoulder joints
where I’m going to start talking about a very important feature known as the capsule. And
the capsule of the shoulder joint is surrounding the entire joint. And medially, as I’m highlighting
here in blue, medially is attached to the glenoid cavity right outside that fibrocartilaginous
extension that I talked about on the previous slide known as the glenoid labrum. Now, this
will extend. This capsule will extend all the way laterally where it’s then going to
attach to the anatomical neck of the humerus, and then—as you can see here on this image—will
extend just a little bit further down medially to the side of the shaft of the humerus for
just a short distance as you can see. Important feature of the capsule is that it’s thin and
broad, which then allows the wide range of movements that are associated to this joint.
Also, it is partially strengthened by ligaments and also by the tendons of the rotator cuff
muscles, which we are going to discuss later on on this tutorial in a little bit more detailed.
Now, one important feature that I would like to add on the capsule is that if you notice
there is a little recess or a little bump that I’m going to highlight here in green.
This is when the arm is hanging down. You see that the lower part of the joint capsule
which is not reinforced by muscle is sagging and is forming this green structure that I
highlighted—was not in green, but is highlighted in green—and it’s known as the axillary
recess. This provides a reserved capacity that is useful during abduction movements
of the arm. As you probably notice, we’re still talking
about the capsule of the shoulder joint, and from previous knowledge, you know that capsules
on synovial joints have two main layers: the synovial layer and the fibrous layer. Both
these layers have different or they’re comprised of different types of tissues, as well as
their location in the capsule is… they are different. So the synovial layer is located
in the innermost part of the capsule, usually in contact with synovial fluid, hence the
name synovial layer. Now, the fibrous layer is usually located more externally and also
has a different composition or comprised of different tissues.
Now, knowing that, let’s talk about the synovial layer of the capsule of the shoulder joint.
This layer is actually attached to that extension that we talked about, this fibrocartilaginous
extension known as the glenoid labrum. This is the attachment of the synovial layer. And
also, I’m going to add here the muscle of the biceps brachii muscle. As you can see,
the long head or the tendon of the long head goes through the intertubercular sulcus on
the humerus and then attaches to the supraglenoid tubercle on the scapula. And you can see that
the way I highlight it that the capsule or the synovial layer of the capsule surrounds
the tendon of the long head of the biceps and extends beyond the transverse humeral
ligament. And we’re going to talk about this ligament later on, but I can show you and
draw that is connecting the two tuberosities. This is where you should find the transverse
humeral ligament. Now, this extension of the synovial layer
surrounding this tendon, then, is surrounding it as what we call the synovial sheet of the
intertubercular groove or sulcus. Now, an important thing to know about the synovial
layer as well is that it protrudes usually through the fibrous layer to form the bursae
which are important structures, that we will talk about later, that reduce friction on
a joint. Now, just a quick note on the fibrous layer,
all you need to know is that it forms a connective tissue layer across the intertubercular sulcus
and converts it into an osteofibrous canal. So it’s time to talk about the ligaments that
strengthen and stabilize the shoulder joint. There are six that we’re going to talk about
on this tutorial. The first one is the glenohumeral ligament as you can see here. This is also
divided into three other ligaments or three other weak bands of fibrous tissue: the superior,
the middle, and also the inferior glenohumeral ligaments. As you can see here, this is the
anterior view of the joint, and for that reason, you know that this ligament is strengthening
the front of the capsule, and it’s extending from the margin of the glenoid cavity all
the way to the lesser tuberosity. Now, I’m going to raise this, so I can show
you the fourth ligament. And this is the transverse humeral ligament which is bridging—we talked
about on the previous slide—this is bridging the gap between the tuberosities, and it’s
found more laterally. The other ligament that we need to talk about
is the coracohumeral ligament, which stretches from the root of the coracoid process to the
greater tuberosity of the humerus as you can see here. And this is strengthening the capsule
above or superiorly. The last ligament that we need to talk about,
I’m going to try to find it here. It’s the coracoacromial ligament, as you can see here,
which is connecting the acromium and the coracoid process of the scapula. This is an accessory
ligament and is protecting the superior aspect of the joint. And it does so by forming an
arch; as you can see here, this is forming an arch, also known as a fornix, above the
joint which is preventing superior relaxation of the joint and it restricts the movements
of the joint. An example of that is abduction can only happen up to 90 degrees because the
greater tuberosity of the humerus, as you can see here on this image right here, will
then come into contact with this ligament and prevent from further movement.
Now, it’s time for us to talk about the muscles that help stabilize the shoulder joint. There
are few that we need to discuss because this joint has a few weak ligaments, so we cannot
depend on them in order to be stablilized, so it is a muscle-dependent joint. So it depends…
its stability depends on the muscles that are surrounding it and are stabilizing it.
The very first group of muscles that we need to discuss—they are the most relevant or
they play the major role of stabilizing this joint—are known as the rotator cuff muscles.
The rotator cuff muscles, there are four. The first one that you can see anteriorly
is the subscapularis that origins… or originates (sorry) on the scapula and goes all the way
to the lesser tuberosity of the humerus. So that’s why you can see that is related to
the joint, the shoulder joint. The other three, you can find them on the
posterior view, and these are the infraspinatus, as you can see here, and the supraspinatus,
and I’m going to clear this two so you can see the other one, which is the teres minor.
Both the infraspinatus and supraspinatus origin on the scapula, then, will exert on the greater
tuberosity of the humerus. And also the teres minor is originating on the scapula and goes
all the way to insert as well on the greater tuberosity of the humerus. Now, I want to
show all of these muscles together, so you can see the entire group of the rotator cuff
muscles. So we still have here the muscles of the rotator
cuff, so I can show you the next muscle that plays a role in stabilizing the shoulder joint,
and this is the teres major muscle that I just showed you posteriorly but I will also
show you anteriorly, and this is it. And the teres major is inserting on the crest of the
lesser tuberosity, and that’s why it’s also playing a role in stabilizing the shoulder
joint. Next muscle that helps stabilize the joint
is the coracobrachialis muscle, as you can see here, that originates on the coracoid
process of the scapula and goes to insert in the humerus in line with the crest of the
lesser tuberosity. That’s why it’s helping stabilize this joint.
The next muscle that helps stabilize the shoulder joint is a very powerful one known as the
deltoid muscle as you can see here on the posterior view. And it’s better to show it
on this side so you can see it in its majority. And you can see that this muscle is originating
from the scapula and the clavicle. And I also have another image here that illustrates a
little bit better where it’s going to insert. And it will insert in the very well-known
deltoid tuberosity on the humerus, and that’s why this muscle plays a major role not only
in stabilizing the shoulder joint but also in a lot of the movements related to this
joint. The biceps brachii muscle, as I’m showing
here on the image, also influences in stabilizing the joint. As you can see here, the long head
or the tendon of the long head passes though the intertubercular sulcus on the humerus
and goes and originates, if you notice here, on the supraglenoid tubercle on the scapula.
So for that matter, all the movements related to this muscle will then influence or be associated
to the movements of the shoulder joint. And of course, this muscle also plays a role in
stabilizing it. Now, I’m going to talk about the last two
muscles that influence in stabilizing the shoulder joint. And the one that you’re seeing
here right now is a portion of the latissimus dorsi, and you can see, that is inserting
on the crest of the lesser tuberosity of the humerus as you can see here. Now, the other
one is a very powerful muscle known as the pectoralis major, and you can see that the
pectoralis major is inserting here on the crest of the greater tuberosity of the humerus.
The next topic on this shoulder joint tutorial, it’s going to be is going to be the bursae.
Bursae is plural and bursa is singular. And a bursa is a synovial sac that is filled with
fluid that help cushion and also alleviate some friction that is usually associated to
synovial joints—very, very important structures. Now, remember from previous topic when we
talked about the synovial layer and also the fibrous layer of the capsule, well, the synovial
layer usually protrudes through the fibrous layer, and that way, it will form some bursa.
Now, on this tutorial, I’m going to talk about four more bursae. And the first one, you can
see on this image, we’re looking at it anteriorly. And I left some of the ligaments, so you can
see where you can find this bursa in relation to these structures. Now, the first one is
known as the subcromial and subdeltoid bursa, this green structure that you find here. And
you can see it here also posteriorly and a little bit more superiorly. You find also
this subacromial—this green structure here—this is the subacromial and subdeltoid bursa.
Now there are three other bursae that I need to cover here in this tutorial. What I’m going
to do now is highlight the capsule and also the bursa associated with the capsule and
to the joint, so you can see where they’re located. Now, the first one is this red, highlighted
in red, and this is the subcoracoid bursa. The next one is this one highlighted in blue,
and this is the subtendinous bursa of the subscapularis muscle. So this is just beneath
the tendon of the subscapularis muscle. And the next one, this yellow structure here is
known as the intertubercular synovial sac. So this is surrounding the tendon of the long
head of the biceps, and you can see it a little bit better on this image here, so I’m going
to also highlight it in yellow so you can see that this structure, this intertubercular
synovial sac or sheet, is surrounding the tendon of the long head of the biceps and
is extending beyond the transverse humeral ligament that you can see better on this image.
Here is the transverse humeral ligament. And that way, it’s surrounding the tendon as a
synovial sheet of the intertubercular sulcus or groove.
Now, it is time for us to talk about the blood supply of the shoulder joint. There are few
vessels that we need to discuss. The first one is the anterior, this is on the anterior
side and is highlighted in blue here. This small artery here is known as the anterior
circumflex humeral artery, and it originates from the axillary artery right here. And the
other one that is also supplying the shoulder joint is on the posterior side, and this is
the posterior circumflex humeral artery highlighted in green. Now, the other one that is also
a major blood supplier of the shoulder joint is this one here, this small vessel here,
highlighted in yellow. This is the suprascapular artery and originates from the subclavian
artery. The shoulder joint also has a nerve supply,
and I wanted to briefly discuss here on this tutorial. What we have here is two views,
the anterior… or posterior view (sorry) on your left and the anterior view here on
your right. And the first nerve that we’re going to discuss is the axillary nerve, and
I have it here highlighted in green. As you can see, this is the structure that is passing
through all or alongside these structures that I left so you can have an idea of the
relation of the axillary nerve to the other structures on the shoulder joint. And on the
anterior view, you can also see, highlighted in green, the axillary nerve that comes off
the brachial plexus from the upper trunk posterior division and posterior cord, but I don’t want
to go into details. I will do a tutorial on the brachial plexus later on. But this is
just to know that the axillary nerve also carries fibers from C5 and C6.
The next structure, the next nerve that we will talk about—this is the second one and
the last one that I want to cover on this tutorial—is the suprascapular nerve, and
you have two posterior views so you can see the suprascapular nerve, also highlighted
in green. You can see it also on your right and with more structures involved so you can
see how it relates to them. And this suprascapular nerve arises from the upper trunk, and it’s
formed by the union of the fifth and the sixth cervical nerves or fibers.
Now for the last part of this tutorial, I want to briefly discuss the movements associated
to the shoulder joint. And as I mentioned before, this is one of the most mobile joints
that you have in your body. As you’re watching, now, this tutorial, I suggest you move your
shoulder as much as you want or move your arm as much as you want. That’s thanks to
this very mobile joint. Now, the movements that we are just going
to briefly touch are the abduction and adduction. As you’re seeing the arrows, this is where
to movement will occur. Now, the other two are flexion, which is forward lifting of the
arm, and extension, which we would say is backward lifting of the arm. Now, you also
have internal or medial rotation, and external or lateral rotation. You do have elevation
which is excessive associated scapular movement, which will happen with abduction of more than
90 degrees—say if you’re lifting your arm high enough to hail a cab or a taxi. And this
happens because… We call it excessive, let’s say, because the joint movement is restricted
by the coracoacromial ligament that you have here. So it’s restricted by this ligament
right here. Now, the last movement that we’re going to talk about is known as circumduction.
And this is a combination of movements such as flexion, extension, and abduction, and
adduction. Now that you’d just completed this video tutorial,
then it’s time for you to continue your learning experience by testing and also applying your
knowledge. There are three ways you can do so here at Kenhub. The first one is by clicking
on our “start training” button, the second one is by browsing through our related articles
library, and the third one is by checking out our atlas.
Now, good luck everyone, and I will see you next time.

100 thoughts on “Shoulder Joint: Movements, Bones & Muscles – Human Anatomy | Kenhub

  1. thanks for a nice forthright explanation video. I have been eluding the topic for a long time but you guys made it easy to grasp.

  2. awesome video sir…. as m first year MBBS student ….it was too helpful for me…all point were covered so easily with out any stress….tysm

  3. Your videos are amazing,thank you for your helps, if ı get high marks from my midterms ıt will be thanks to you

  4. Ken Hub..
    You made my KLM look so easy for me…
    Your tutorials are highly appreciated and understandable…keep this great work on!!!
    Love you Man

  5. I have temporarily dislocated my shoulders (never had to pop them back in, just felt the ball slip out of the socket during the movement + PAIN) several times throwing punches, almost always with hooks. I am having it looked at by a doctor and I am going to demand a specialist confirms whether the shoulder/s need surgery.

    However my basic question to anyone knowledgeable is; what is it exactly, positionally, that makes my shoulders dislocate when I throw hooks? Apart from the good possibility that my joints may be damaged for good and that they are the real reason… is it that my shoulder is too elevated + a violent swinging motion? Is the shoulder extended too far out + swing? Etc. Since they don't always pop, what is the wrong position for a shoulder to be in when throwing a hook? Wrong in the sense that dislocation is probable.


  6. It's a amazing explanation about shoulder joint muscles.My concern is here I have injuries in my both shoulders.11 year ago in left shoulder and 9 year ago in right shoulder.I am 30 year old now.Both shoulder muscle injured during swimming.From that day I have no overhead movement in my shoulders particularly curcumductiom. When I try do to curcumduction my shoulder turn the muscle and in-stabilize the arm,for few second there remain killer pain in shoulder when the muscle turn into intertubercular synovial sheath its to stabilize. I do lot of exercise physiotherapy and visits orthopedic surgeons but it in-stabilize again and again when I try do to curcumduction exercise or through the ball or any thing with stretch velocity.Please tell me the best remedies about this problem.Thank you

  7. please add retraction protraction, horizontal adduction abduction in the list of movements. also the circumduction is not a pure movement it is combination of many movements happening at the same time

  8. great video, but have you guys thought about that yiu wanna see black jesus dunk in white jesus? i definitely do


  10. Hi guys! You've officially learned the anatomy of the shoulder joint. Pat yourself on the back! What other joint would you like us to cover? You're not done yet! Continue learning by taking this quiz on the main joints of the Human body: See you there!

  11. How does the pec major stabilize the shoulder, do you know if it prevents anterior migration of the humeral head like the subscapularis does?

  12. I'd like to ask If the fibro-osseous canal you mentioned formed by the joint capsule is the transverse humeral ligament or If they are separate things . Thanks for the great videos ! They've helped a lot!

  13. Hello, if u don't mind can u share with us, what kind of applications do u use to explain ur videos
    I think it would be helpful for us to access and understand while studying
    Or else suggest any better applications which we can use.
    Thank u😊
    U r doing a great job, thank u for the efforts

  14. Sir , I met with an accident. I had grade 3 ac joint(clear bump) and scapula fracture. Doc told me not to lift weight by injured arm for life and also I am unfit for army.

    It's been 3 months and I feel preety comfortable in doing daily works. Sometimes I feel some itching and sometimes a little pain as if muscles inside are being torned.

    Is it fine ??? Will I be able to go to gym and am I fit for army ???
    Plz help sir

  15. Why would anyone give you a THUMBS DOWN when you do such a GREAT JOB!
    Detailed and great comments and side notes!
    Thank you for your effort and time to prepare and share. 😉

  16. Beautiful explanation.
    I'm a Biomedical Engineer and a fitness enthusiast. Run a soccer academy. We have a different language to demonstrate. Can I use your video for our education purpose?

  17. great and easy description. The only thing that troubled me during the video was the teres major instead of teres minor when you talked about the supply of axillary nerveother than that thanks a lot for making everything so simple!

  18. Thank you so much..I have one ques.The head is covered by hyaline cartilage which is thickest at the centre and thinner at the periphery. Can you please explain it?

  19. Sir… This was very helpful…! Thank u.! Is there a video that states… Which muscle assist which movements of shoulder?

  20. I have a bad shoulder but vietnamese chiropractor she just using massage machine treated on it. No any techniques for treatment by her hands. I always hear the clear had sound when making adduction by shoulder movements. I think that bones of shoulder has problem but doctor told that is tendon or muscle make sound.i don't agree with that .must take a photo by machine is a clear doubting.

  21. It would be more helpful if you added actual videos of the shoulder movements. Otherwise great video ! Thanks !

  22. One of the  best  video   I've  watched  so far   … So clear  accent  for  EL  [English Learner ]   Very  informative   Many  thanks.  May God   bless  you  **

  23. currently in occupational therapy program… on the shoulder complex for my class and this video summed up my 69 page PowerPoints! thank you, Ken Hub

  24. A Great video! It's so clear and detail. I'm pretty sure that all the dislikes were from Anatomy teachers, they were afraid of losing their jobs.

  25. I'm so happy abt this… I class I'm not understanding anything but now .. 😍😍😍😍 u r really super..

  26. As I look at this complex structure, which is comparable with great car where pressing a bottom creates lots of desired actions, and fluids creating additional lubrications? Such structure of the human body is just as complex as cars if not more. No logical person can imagine that cars designed themselves as needed, or were simply found in nature? Cars were designed by expert engineers, and any small mistake can create trouble in car functionality? Hence there is a god or a designer who spent a lot of effort creating this complex structure. If god wanted us to fly like birds, he would have created a whole different set of muscle movements? I have doubted god existence many times, but it is easy after looking at one piece of the human body like the shoulder to recognize a great genius behind that design. To regenerate ourselves, god created sex, which in itself another complex chemical, emotional, muscular, mental mechanism. Wow, what a creator/designer.

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