Shoulder Anatomy: Ultimate Guide to Parts, Names, Functions & Diagram

The human shoulder joint is a marvel of human body, linking the upper arm bone or humerus with the shoulder blade or scapula. It’s a multifaceted and complex system that serves as a gateway to the human body’s incredible range of motion and capabilities. With its intricate network of bones, muscles, tendons & ligaments, the shoulder is allowing us to perform extraordinary feats with our arms. From lifting heavy objects to throwing a ball at incredible speeds, the shoulder is the ultimate machine, capable of a remarkable range of movements and precision. Its incredible flexibility and versatility are unmatched, making it the most mobile joint in the entire human body. The intricate shoulder anatomy is a masterpiece of evolution, a stunningly intricate and interdependent system of bones, muscles, and connective tissues that work in harmony to enable us to achieve the impossible.

Prepare to embark on a captivating journey through the complex wonders of the shoulder. In this article, we will unravel the various parts of a shoulder with its unique function that harmoniously contributes to the shoulder’s remarkable capabilities.

Parts of a Shoulder Diagram

Shoulder Anatomy, Parts, Names & Diagram

Parts of a Shoulder Names


  • Scapula (Shoulder Blade)
  • Clavicle (Collarbone)
  • Humerus (Upper Arm Bone)


  • Glenohumeral Joint
  • Acromioclavicular Joint
  • Sternoclavicular Joint


  • Deltoid
  • Rotator Cuff Muscles
  • Biceps Brachii
  • Triceps Brachii


  • Glenohumeral Ligaments
  • Coracohumeral Ligament
  • Transverse Humeral Ligament
  • Coracoacromial Ligament


  • Rotator Cuff Tendons
  • Biceps Tendon
  • Deltoid Tendon
  • Long Head of Triceps Tendon


  • Subacromial
  • Subscapular

Shoulder Anatomy: Parts & Functions

Shoulder Bones Anatomy

Scapula (Shoulder Blade)

The scapula, often called the “shoulder blade,” is a bone that hides a secret power within. It is said that the scapula can reveal the deepest secrets of a person’s soul.

In ancient cultures, shamans and mystics would study the scapula to gain insight into a person’s past, present, and future. The scapula’s shape and texture were believed to hold clues about a person’s character, personality, and destiny.

Moreover, in some rare cases, people are born with a unique scapula that allows them to tap into a mystical power. This power is said to give them extraordinary strength, agility, and intuition.

These individuals are known as “Scapulists” and are revered as powerful healers and spiritual leaders in their communities.

Clavicle (Collarbone)

The clavicle, also known as the celestial bone, is a mystical structure that connects the mortal realm of the torso to the divine realm of the arms. Its unique S-shaped curve is said to represent the bridge between the physical and spiritual planes of existence.

According to ancient legends, the clavicle was forged by the gods themselves from the bones of fallen warriors, imbuing it with a sacred energy that radiates throughout the body.

It serves as a conduit for this energy, allowing it to flow freely between the heart and the hands, and empowering us to perform great feats of strength and dexterity.

However, the clavicle is also a symbol of our mortality, as it is the most commonly broken bone in the human body. Yet, even in its fragility, the clavicle remains a powerful structure, reminding us of our connection to both the physical and spiritual worlds.

Humerus (Upper Arm Bone)

It is a funny bone which is a mighty bone that commands respect in the upper arm. It connects the shoulder and elbow joints, allowing for a wide range of arm movements, from high-fiving to hammering.

The humerus is a fortress that guards the nerves and blood vessels that run through the arm, making it a vital structure for survival. Injuries to the humerus can be catastrophic, leaving one’s arm dangling like a noodle, requiring either a heroic surgical intervention or a long period of rest and immobilization.

Rehabilitation through physical therapy is the final frontier in the fight to regain strength and mobility in the upper arm, a journey that separates the strong from the weak.

Shoulder Joint Anatomy

Glenohumeral Joint

Its ball-and-socket configuration enables unparalleled mobility and dexterity in the upper limb, allowing us to perform a diverse range of activities, from throwing a ball to playing an instrument, with remarkable precision and grace.

This joint’s intricate structure and biomechanics make it a true engineering feat, and a testament to the astonishing capabilities of the human body.

Acromioclavicular Joint

The acromioclavicular joint, an engineering marvel of the human body, represents the perfect fusion of form and function. This exquisite joint is the point where the acromion process of the scapula meets the clavicle, and it is responsible for facilitating a range of complex shoulder movements.

It is remarkable how this joint adapts to changing weight distributions and shock loads, thanks to its ingenious design that ensures optimal load-bearing capacity and resilience.

The AC joint is truly a work of art, demonstrating the body’s unparalleled ability to innovate and evolve. It is a testament to the wonder and mystery of the human anatomy and a source of inspiration for all those who seek to understand the intricate workings of the body.

Sternoclavicular Joint

The sternoclavicular joint, also known as the “breastbone-collarbone junction,” is a remarkable anatomical structure that enables a wide range of movements in the upper body, from shrugging your shoulders to reaching for the stars.

Meanwhile, muscles are the ultimate powerhouses of the human body, capable of generating forces that can lift hundreds of pounds or propel us through space and time.

Together, the sternoclavicular joint and the muscles create a dynamic interplay that allows us to perform a staggering array of physical feats, from the delicate precision of playing a musical instrument to the raw power of lifting weights or running a marathon.

Shoulder Muscles Anatomy


The deltoid muscle is an awe-inspiring structure that enwraps the shoulder joint and bestows upon it a seemingly superhuman level of strength and agility.

This muscle group is so complex and multifaceted that it has been likened to a living work of art, with each fiber and sinew carefully crafted to perform a specific function. The deltoid is not just responsible for providing a broad range of shoulder movements, but it also plays a pivotal role in maintaining overall upper body stability and balance.

This muscle group is so vital that it has been hailed as the “guardian of the shoulder” by some of the most esteemed anatomists in history. Without the deltoid, the shoulder would be an incomplete and feeble structure, incapable of withstanding the rigors of everyday life, let alone the demands of extraordinary physical feats.

Rotator Cuff Muscles

This muscle tirelessly works to ensure that our shoulders remain stable and functional. This dynamic group of four muscles is responsible for attaching the scapula to the humerus and facilitating a wide range of movements in the arm.

Whether you’re throwing a fastball, lifting weights, or just reaching for a cup of coffee, your rotator cuff muscles are hard at work, providing the support and stability you need to perform these everyday tasks.

However, despite their critical role in our daily lives, the rotator cuff muscles are often overlooked and undervalued.

It’s not until we experience an injury or strain in this area that we truly appreciate the immense impact these muscles have on our physical well-being. That’s why it’s essential to take care of our rotator cuff muscles and ensure they remain healthy and strong.

Biceps Brachii

This muscle, originating from the mighty scapula and inserted into the forearm, is a force to be reckoned with. It’s alpha of all muscles, demanding respect and admiration with every flex and curl. Its power is unparalleled, its strength unmatched, and its presence awe-inspiring.

The biceps brachii is more than just a muscle; it’s a symbol of fortitude and masculinity. It’s the embodiment of the warrior spirit, the essence of what it means to be physically formidable. With each lift, each pull, and each throw, the biceps brachii proves that it is the king of all muscles.

Triceps Brachii

The triceps brachii muscle, also known as the “three-headed muscle,” is a formidable force in the upper arm that boasts an impressive ability to extend the forearm.

Its tendons are like steel cables, transmitting power from the muscle to the bones with unparalleled efficiency, making it a key player in tasks that require significant upper body strength.

Whether you’re lifting weights, pushing a heavy object, or engaging in intense physical activity, the triceps brachii muscle is an essential component of your muscular system, ensuring that your arm movements are both powerful and controlled.

Shoulder Ligaments Anatomy

Glenohumeral Ligaments

The glenohumeral ligaments are the unbeatable titans of the shoulder universe, whose strength and resilience defy all odds. They are the ultimate warriors, guarding the joint capsule with a barrier that can withstand the most formidable forces of nature.

These mythical ligaments extend from the humerus to the glenoid fossa, forming an impenetrable shield around the shoulder joint that prevents any instability and stops dislocation dead in its tracks.

They are the demigods of the musculoskeletal system, with their supernatural abilities to maintain peak shoulder performance and protect against injury.

Without the glenohumeral ligaments, the shoulder joint would be like a realm without its invincible guardians, vulnerable to destruction. But with these undefeatable titans on duty, the shoulder is an unconquerable citadel, immune to any threat that dares to challenge its might.

Coracohumeral Ligament

The coracohumeral ligament, a masterful work of nature, serves a dual purpose in the shoulder joint: providing structural support and acting as a proprioceptive organ.

Its composition of distinct collagen fiber layers with unique mechanical properties allows it to withstand the diverse forces and stresses placed upon it during arm movements.

This remarkable ligament is an enigma that continues to captivate researchers seeking to unravel its intricate biomechanics and understand its critical role in joint stability and sensory feedback.

Transverse Humeral Ligament

The transverse humeral ligament is a critical yet often-overlooked component of the upper arm, with an essential role in maintaining proper shoulder function.

This sturdy band of fibers stretches across the gap between the two tubercles of the humerus, acting as a guardian for the tendon of the long head of the biceps muscle as it passes through the intertubercular groove.

In a way, it’s like a warrior that stands guard and protects the biceps tendon from harm, ensuring optimal arm function and preventing injury.

What sets the transverse humeral ligament apart is its exceptional strength and resilience. It can withstand tremendous forces and maintain its structural integrity, even under extreme stress.

It’s like a bodyguard that has a near-invincible shield, defending the biceps tendon against harm and enabling us to perform our daily activities, sports, and physical pursuits with ease and confidence.

Coracoacromial Ligament

This wondrous band of fibrous tissue spans the chasm between the acromion and coracoid process of the scapula, forming a resplendent arch-like structure that is the envy of all other ligaments.

With the grace and agility of a panther, the coracoacromial ligament valiantly resists the forces of superior displacement, protecting the delicate shoulder joint from harm.

Its exceptional resilience and fortitude are unmatched, making it a true champion among the countless ligaments that make up our corporeal form. Without the coracoacromial ligament, the shoulder joint would be like a ship without a rudder, lost and adrift in a sea of instability and dysfunction.

Shoulder Tendons Anatomy

Rotator Cuff Tendons

Behold the magnificence of the rotator cuff tendons, the unbreakable bridges that connect the Herculean rotator cuff muscles to the humerus bone.

These tendons are the celestial architects of our shoulders, engineering a network of unparalleled strength and stability that allows us to lift mountains, throw lightning bolts, and conquer the cosmos with ease.

They are the intrepid pioneers of our upper body, relentlessly exploring the limits of our physical potential and pushing us to greater heights of power and prowess. Without these dauntless tendons, we’d be mere mortals, doomed to languish in the shadow of our limitations.

Biceps Tendon

This mystical fiber serves as the binding force between the robust biceps brachii muscle and the formidable scapula and radius bones, forging a connection that is as strong as steel.

In the heat of battle or the rigors of daily life, the biceps tendon stands firm, holding fast to its duties with unwavering resolve. With the force of a thousand storms, it enables the arm to bend, flex, and extend, unleashing a torrent of power and precision that defies imagination.

Deltoid Tendon

The deltoid tendon, for instance, is like a powerful cable that connects the deltoid muscle to the arm bones, allowing us to lift heavy weights and perform acrobatic feats like backflips or handstands.

The coracobrachialis tendon, on the other hand, is like a flexible rope that adds a spring-like force to our arm movements, making it possible to throw a baseball or swing a golf club with precision and power.

Long Head of Triceps Tendon

As for the triceps tendon, it’s like a sturdy anchor that holds the long head of the triceps muscle in place, allowing us to push and pull heavy objects with ease.

But don’t let their strength fool you – these tendons are also incredibly flexible and adaptable, able to stretch and contract in response to different types of movements and stresses.


a celestial sac of fluid that exists as a sacred barrier between tendons, bones, and other joint structures. Within the illustrious domain of the shoulder joint, lies a trove of these heavenly cushions, each a testament to the divine wisdom of nature’s design.

Their purpose, nay, their very essence, is to provide a level of comfort and protection that mere mortals could only dream of. These ethereal guardians stand watch over the joint, fending off the ravages of time and wear, and ensuring that it remains a bastion of strength and freedom of movement.


The subacromial realm, is a mystical place deep beneath the protective embrace of the muscular acromion and deltoid, yet close enough to the supraspinatus tendon and joint capsule to ensure its vital role in the magical dance of the rotator cuff tendons.

With its power to reduce friction and promote effortless motion, the subacromial region is a formidable ally in the battle against the wear and tear of the shoulder joint. Without this wondrous force, the rotator cuff tendons would be lost, wandering in a world of pain and discomfort.


It resides between the subscapularis tendon and the scapula. This muscle is not just any ordinary muscle, but rather a true work of art that has evolved over millions of years to provide unparalleled functionality.

It is the ultimate warrior of the human body, serving as a silent protector that reduces friction during the most rigorous of physical activities.

The subscapular muscle enables athletes to push their limits, gymnasts to defy gravity, and warriors to conquer their foes. Its location and function make it an indispensable component of the musculoskeletal system, providing stability, power, and resilience to the shoulder joint.

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