The supraspinatus muscle is a rotator cuff muscle located in the shoulder, specifically in the supraspinatus fossa. It stretches laterally to the scapula's spine, allowing it to pass under the acromion process. In other words, it lies horizontally, not far from the top of the shoulder. The supraspinatus muscle is attached to a flat, strong tendon connected to the shoulder joint capsule. Along with the deltoid and pectoralis major muscles, the supraspinatus muscle helps initiate horizontal abduction of the shoulder. Abduction is a rotator cuff exercise that helps strengthen the supraspinatus; it is done by holding a weight in each hand, with your hands by your sides, and moving your arms back and forth. In the case of a muscle retraction injury to the supraspinatus muscle (basically the result of a muscle tear), a pull-forward surgery must be performed within three months before the muscle becomes too short to reattach. Unfortunately, atrophy can also affect the supraspinatus muscle, rendering it irreparable.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Supraspinatus