Teres minor

Teres minor is one of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff, the others being: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and subscapularis.


  • origin: lateral border of the scapula
  • insertion: greater tuberosity of the humerus
  • innervation: axillary nerve (C5-6)
  • arterial supply: circumflex scapular artery1
  • action: external rotation, weak adductor of the humerus, stabilises the shoulder joint, holds the head of the humerus down against the upward pull of the deltoid during abduction

Gross anatomy

Teres minor originates from the dorsal surface of the lateral border of the scapula. As it passes superio-laterally is runs adjacent to the lower border of infraspinatus and posterior to the long head of triceps. The lower portion of teres minor runs alongside teres major before the latter passes anterior to the long head of triceps. The tendon of the muscle fuses with the articular capsule of the humerus before inserting on the lower end of the greater tubercle. 

Anatomy: Upper limb
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Article information

rID: 5140
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Teres minor muscle

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: diagram : shoulder muscles
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  • Figure 3: diagram : showing teres minor
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  • Figure 4: diagram : shoulder muscles
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