Supraspinous fossa

The Human Scapula Bone

The supraspinous fossa (of the scapula) is a structural feature on the scapula bone (also known as the shoulder blade or shoulder bone).

Location of supraspinous fossa:

The location on the scapula bone of the supraspinous fossa is indicated on the labelled diagram of the posterior (dorsal) surface of the left scapula bone shown below-right (with the supraspinous fossa highlighted in yellow).

The position on the scapula bone of the supraspinous fossa can be described in words as:

  • a concave depression ("fossa" = "shallow depression")
  • located above the spine of scapula on the posterior = dorsal surface of the scapula bone only*

*Hence it won't be labelled on diagrams of the anterior = costal surface of the scapula.

About the supraspinous fossa:

Spine of scapula Spine of scapula Spine of scapula inferior angle of scapula inferior angle of scapula Glenoid cavity Glenoid cavity Superior Angle of Scapula Superior Angle of Scapula Acromion process Acromion process Coracoid process Coracoid process

The supraspinous fossa is a shallow concave depression. It is smooth and broader on the medial side than on the lateral side.
Recall from general knowledge of the features and markings on bones that a fossa is typically a shallow depression.

The supraspinous fossa includes the surface of the scapula bone to which the supraspinatus muscle (sometimes written "supraspinalis" - one of the posterior muscles of the torso) is attached.

The supraspinous fossa is the part of the scapula (bone) to which the supraspinatus (muscle) is attached.

Where does the term "supraspinous fossa" come from ?

  • "Supraspinous" comes from the Latin "supra" meaning above and "spine" which refers to the spine of the scapula (another feature on the scapula bone - also labelled in the diagram above).
  • "Fossa" is from the Latin verb "fodere" which means to dig. Hence "fossa" came to be used to refer to a trench, ditch or hole, i.e. features in the physical landscape that my be formed by digging.

In the past medical students were expected to have a good background in Latin (language) - it is easy to see how this helped.

For more about this and related topics see the links to other features on the scapula bone listed on the left and the pages about the scapula bone and about bone markings and features on bones.

More about bones and features on bones:

For further information see also books about orthopaedics.

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