Calcific Tendinitis: What to Consider When Treating

A painful condition of the rotator cuffs and shoulders, calcific tendinitis is the result of calcium buildup under the shoulder blade in the tendons of the shoulder and around the rotator cuffs.

While no solid cause for calcific tendinitis has been pinned down, blood levels of calcium indicate that it’s not excess calcium in the diet. If you’ve been diagnosed with the condition, don’t cut back on your calcium intake; it will just cause your body to scavenge the calcium from your bones to make up the lack (calcium is an important metabolic nutrient, not just what makes up your bones.)

There may be metabolic triggers for calcified tendinitis, some doctors speculate that it may have a similar root cause as kidney or bladder stones, which are also defined by calcified lumps accumulating within the body. This is not a definitive connection, but a categorization of similar symptoms and an avenue of further investigation. Rotator cuff injuries do not make people more likely to develop calcified tendinitis.

The condition only shows up in those over the age of 30; whether this is because of metabolic changes in the late 20s or something else is still being investigated.

What are the symptoms of calcific tendinitis?

Calcific tendinitis can be asymptomatic – with no real impact as the calcium deposit grows. It’s only when the deposit starts to shed calcium flakes that inflammation and pain occur, particularly when they rub against the rotator cuff and the tendons that run through it. Large flakes can cause the shoulder to ‘lock up’ when raised over the patient’s head.

Where the symptoms show up is when the calcium deposit sheds crystals and flakes of calcium, which act like very small knives in the tendons, or like burrs, and cause inflammation as the body tries to break them down and reabsorb them. Most times, the pain lasts for a week or two and the symptoms go away.

Symptoms occur suddenly, rather than gradually over a long period of time. The pain symptoms are usually not permanent and only last a week or two until the deposits themselves are broken up.

If this type of attack causes you to seek medical attention, an x-ray will certainly show that you have calcific tendinitis. Treatment is usually pretty simple, with over-the-counter pain medications and ice being the treatment of choice. Range of motion exercises can help avoid a “frozen shoulder” incident.

Severe pain can get your doctor to give you a shot of cortisone to reduce inflammation, or a steroid shot. Rarely, they may decide to run a hypodermic under the shoulder blade to break up the nodule and extract the pieces with a syringe. In a handful of cases, arthroscopic surgery to remove large deposits may be needed to restore the full range of motion to your shoulder.

Tom Nicholson spends his time helping sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome. Please follow this link to find out more regardingcalcific tendinitis.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.