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:
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 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.
More about bones and features on bones:
- Structures and functions of bones (an overview about the skeletal system)
- Types of bones, such as long bones, short bones, flat bones, etc.
- Bone markings and features on bones of the human body
- Types of joints, such as immoveable, slightly moveable and freely moveable joints
- Diagram of the human skeleton
- Overview of types of conditions and disorders of the skeletal system
For further information see also books about orthopaedics.