Calcific Tendinitis

What is calcific tendinitis?

Calcific tendinitis, also called degenerative calcification, is a common cause of chronic tendon pain. It is the result of calcium deposits building up on a tendon. Calcific tendinitis happens most often in the shoulder. In fact, it is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain.

Learn more about shoulder anatomy

What causes calcific tendinitis?

Although no one knows for sure what causes calcific tendinitis, there are a few factors that may make it more likely that you will develop this condition. You may be at higher risk of calcific tendinitis if you:

  • Are female
  • Do a lot of repetitive overhead arm movement, at work or in sports
  • Are over 30 years old
  • Have diabetes
  • Have thyroid disease

What are the symptoms of calcific tendinitis?

Sometimes, calcific tendinitis of the shoulder has no symptoms, especially at first. Over time, symptoms become more common. Common symptoms of calcific tendinitis in the shoulder include:

  • Shoulder pain, which may be severe
  • Pain that makes it hard to sleep
  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Difficulty raising your arm or moving your shoulder fully

 How is calcific tendinitis of the shoulder diagnosed?

To find out whether you have calcium deposits on your shoulder’s tendons, your doctor will start with a physical exam. Your doctor may apply pressure to the affected area or ask you to move your shoulder and arm in various ways. An X-ray and MRI can help rule out other possible causes of shoulder pain, such as rotator cuff injuries or shoulder arthritis.

How is calcific tendinitis treated?

The vast majority of patients with these injuries have success with nonsurgical treatment. Nonsurgical treatment options for calcific tendinitis of the shoulder include:

  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines (such as aspirin or ibuprofen)
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections

New technologies have emerged to remove the painful calcium deposits and promote healing in the tendon. They include:

If your symptoms do not respond after six to twelve months of nonsurgical treatments, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery.

Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise

From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.

Start your journey to stronger, healthier athletic condition. Find your sports medicine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a sports medicine consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNVadnais Heights, MNPlymouth, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.

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