Footprint of the rotator cuff

Last revised by Joachim Feger on 14 Nov 2021

The footprint of the rotator cuff is the insertional anatomy and the common tendon of the rotator cuff. It is an integral part of the stability of the glenohumeral joint.

Gross anatomy

The rotator cuff footprint involves the convergence of the four rotator cuff tendons, which form a multi-layered, flat structure with the shape of a horseshoe, when viewed in the glenoidal (parasagittal) plane, consisting of the separate tendon insertions 1, which for themselves show a wide range of lengths and widths 1.

  • supraspinatus insertion with a triangular shape at the anteromedial aspect of the superior facet of the greater tubercle 2
  • infraspinatus insertion with a trapezoid  shape at the posterior aspect of the superior facet and the middle facet of the greater tubercle extending anterolaterally 2
  • teres minor insertion at the inferior facet of the greater tubercle
  • subscapularis insertion anteriorly and proximally on the lesser tubercle

There is a significant overlapping zone of muscle/tendon units with interweaving fibers, especially between the posterior supraspinatus and anterior infraspinatus tendons 6.

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