Subscapularis – Anatomy, Purpose And Injury Prevention

The Subscapularis muscle is one of the most frequently used muscles in the shoulder. It is also one of the biggest muscles in a group of muscles known as The Rotator Cuff Muscles. There are four important muscles in the rotator cuff group, and they are:

  • Supraspinatus muscle
  • Infraspinatus muscle
  • Teres minor muscle
  • Subscapularis muscle

The rotator cuff muscles work in synergy through the shoulder joint to help you raise and rotate your hands.

In this article, our focus will be on the subscapularis muscle. We will discuss the anatomy of this muscle, the various function it performs and how to prevent injuries to this important rotator cuff muscle.

Subscapularis Muscle – Anatomy

The name of the muscle ‘subscapularis’ means ‘sub’(under) the ‘scapula’(the wingbone). The subscapularis muscle is a big muscle that is shaped like a triangle and is located around the shoulder. The subscapularis muscle extends from the scapula to the humerus (the bone of the upper arm).

The nerve supply to this muscle is from the upper and lower subscapular nerves. They allow sensations to be carried from or to this muscle. The muscle receives its blood supply from the subscapular artery.


It was stated earlier that the subscapularis muscle is a pretty important muscle in the body. It performs the following functions:

  • Stabilization of the shoulder joint: The subscapularis works in conjunction with the other rotator cuff muscles to stabilize the shoulder. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the human body and can perform movements such as extension, flexion, abduction, adduction, and internal rotation.

A joint that can perform a variety of movements like that needs the help of powerful muscles such as the subscapularis to keep it stable.

  • It prevents dislocation of the head of the humerus: As we have described earlier, the humerus is the long bone of the upper arm. The head of this bone is shaped like a small tennis ball and inserted into the shoulder joint. It is this peculiar shape that enables the shoulder joint to be able to perform all the movements we listed earlier.

The subscapularis muscle is one of the muscles around the shoulder joint that help to prevent the head of the humerus bone from slipping off the socket in which it is placed in the shoulder joint.

Subscapularis Muscle Injury – Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of subscapularis muscle injury include:

  • Pain in the shoulder that gets worse at night
  • Weakness in the arm or shoulder
  • Pain in the shoulder that gets worse when the shoulder is lifted
  • Difficulty in reaching into your back pocket with your hands

If you notice any of the following, you may have a subscapularis muscle injury.  The best next steps mean going to see a healthcare provider


  • Medical History and Physical Examination: The Doctor will ask some questions about the signs and symptoms we have discussed earlier and will physically examine you.
  • Investigation: Most of the time, the Doctor will ask for a radiological inquiry such as X-ray or MRI to confirm the diagnosis
  • Treatment: The Doctor will place you on drugs to relieve the pain you might be feeling. Depending on the severity of the injury, the Doctor might refer you to a Physical Therapist. Worst case means getting the help of a Surgeon for definitive treatment.


You can prevent injury to the subscapularis muscle by regularly performing rehab exercises. These exercises include the Lasso and Sword but should be done with the help of a healthcare provider. You do not want to do a rehab for your shoulder on your own. The shoulder is complex and you need the help of a professional to do it well.

9INE POINT Health to Get The Best Help

will connect you with a professional healthcare provider in your area to help you treat or manage any problems with your Subscapularis muscle. With 9INE POINT Health you can find health care providers local to you based on the type of provider and skill set. If you want a massage therapist that focuses on fascial stretching, for example,
9INE POINT Health will show you the best
9INE POINT Numbers to match.

KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.

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9INE POINT Health was created by 9INE POINT in '19 as a means to provide athlete-driven resources to "Protect Athletes' Minds, Body and Belly". As well as be a platform for healthcare providers and other specialists to display their knowledge.


9INE POINT Health was created by 9INE POINT in '19 as a means to provide athlete-driven resources to "Protect Athletes' Minds, Body and Belly". As well as be a platform for healthcare providers and other specialists to display their knowledge.


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