The deltoid muscle is the most superficial muscle of the shoulder joint; therefore, it is the muscle that defines the round contour of our shoulders.

If we dissect the skin and connective tissue away from the shoulder and arm region, we can see the deltoid and associated muscles more clearly.

Deltoid Muscle

Here, we’re looking at the deltoid from an anterior perspective. Before we go on to discuss the attachment points of this muscle, it’s important to know that the deltoid has three parts, which are named based on their origin.

Anteriorly, we have the clavicle part which originates from the lateral third of the clavicle,and if we change views so that we can see the deltoid from the posterior perspective, we can see the acromial part, which originates from the acromion of the scapula.

Finally, we have the spinal part which, again, true to its name, originates from the spine of the scapula.

These three parts converge towards their insertion point, which is the deltoid tuberosity, found on the lateral surface of the shaft of the humerus.

In order for the deltoid muscle to carry out all the movements we saw earlier, it needs a nerve to tell it what to do and when.

This muscle is innervated by the axillary nerve, which we can see here highlighted in green.

Deltoid Muscle

The axillary nerve carries fibers from the C5 and C6 nerve roots of the brachial plexus.

So what does the deltoid muscle do? Well, it’s actually responsible for several movements of the shoulder joint. Each part of the deltoid performs a different function.

Let’s start with the clavicular part

These muscle fibers assist in flexion and internal rotation of the arm of the shoulder joint.

Next, we have the acromial part of the deltoid muscle, which we can see better from a posterior perspective.

These muscle fibers perform abduction of the arm at the shoulder joint which, as we can see, is the movement of the arm away from the midline of the body.

Deltoid Muscl

Lastly, we have the spinal part of the deltoid muscle.

Deltoid Muscle

These fibers assist in extension and external rotation of the arm at the shoulder joint.

Deltoid Muscle



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