Q:

What is the process above the glenoid cavity that permits muscle attachment?

A:

Quick Answer

The coracoid process, located above the glenoid cavity, permits muscle attachment, states the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The coracoid process projects anteriorly from the scapula, and its name implies a beak-like shape, according to Dr. Jack Lyons of Dartmouth College.

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Full Answer

The shoulder blade and the humerus, the upper arm bone, comprise the shoulder, a ball-and-socket joint. Seen from the front, the ball-shaped cap of the humerus fits laterally into a small socket on the side of the scapula, just beneath two arching extensions of the scapula called the acromion and the coracoid process. This socket is the glenoid cavity, or glenoid fossa, explains Southern California Orthopaedic Institute.

The coracoid process enables the humerus and the scapula to articulate, or to interact in sympathy to forces exerted by attached muscles, such as the biceps and the pectoralis minor. The result is arm movement in a variety of directions. A ring of fibrous cartilage called the labrum stabilizes the shoulder joint. The biceps are attached to the shoulder via the biceps tendon and provide further stability. Articular cartilage protecting the head of the humerus and the glenoid's face cushions the joint.

The articular cartilage at the center of the humerus' head is thicker than at the circumference, according to Gray's Anatomy. The reverse is true within the glenoid cavity.

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