Teres minor is a simple muscle in a complicated area of structural anatomy. Its a flat muscle that lies up under the inferior belly of infraspinatus and posterior deltoid. It is the border of rotator cuff muscle. Consequently, teres covers the long head of the triceps, which attaches to the infraglenoid tubercle and separates it from teres major.
It is easy to think of it as a 4th head of infraspinatus. It originates from the lateral border of the scapula It is covered by the inferior head of infraspinatus. Also, it attaches to the complex fascial structure that covers the infraspinatus muscle.
Teres Minor inserts on the posterior greater tubercle of the humerus. Tjhe inferior belly of infraspinatus inserts with teres minor to the fascia of the posterior joint capsule. This tendon attachment of the inferior infraspinatus is notably inferior and medial to the insertion of the other infraspinatus bellies.
It appears to act synergistically with the infraspinatus, even though it has a different nerve supply. Primarily, it secures the humeral head while externally rotating the humerus. Other actions, like abduction of the humerus and extension of the shoulder seem possible based on its location. However, electromyographical studies don’t support those possibilities.
Origin – lateral border of the scapula
Insertion – greater tubercle of the humerus and posterior surface of the joint capsule
Function – lateral rotation of the humerus
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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.
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