Calcific tendinitis is a condition where tiny calcium deposits about one to two centimeters are formed within the tendons of the rotator cuff. They are not painful, and even if they pain, it resolves in one to four weeks. It develops in individuals above 30 or 40 years of age, and those with diabetes.
The exact cause is not known. It is believed that aging and blood supply of the tendon could cause calcific tendinitis.
Calcific tendonitis is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. You’re more likely to be affected if you perform a lot of overhead activities, such as heavy lifting, or play sports such as basketball or tennis.
Symptoms of calcific tendinitis
- Shoulder pain is a common symptom, but almost 1/3rd of them do not notice.
- Inability to move the arm.
- Pain while sleeping.
- Pain in the front or back of the shoulder that builds up gradually.
- Anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Cortisone steroid injections reduce pain and inflammation.
- Physiotherapy improves flexibility and reduces the irritation.
- Barbotage therapy where the saltwater solution is is injected into the calcific deposits using ultrasound.
- Surgical excision.
Surgical intervention is required when the pain is not subsided with the above measures or if the pain is severe especially at night. Surgeries include Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression and Excision of the Calcific Deposit.