What is a Calcific tendinopathy?
Calcific tendonitis is a common cause of shoulder pain and is characterized by a build-up of calcium in the tendon or muscle of the rotator cuff. The Rotator Cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that help stabilize the shoulder: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres minor & Subscapularis. They also aid in movement: Every time you move your shoulder, you are using your rotator cuff to stabilize and help move the joint.
Calcium build-up in the rotator cuff can limit movement in the shoulder as well as cause pain.
Calcific tendonitis is a common cause of shoulder pain and is more common in people who perform a lot of overhead activities such as heavy lifting or sports like tennis.
What causes a Calcific tendinopathy?
The exact cause of calcium deposits isn’t 100% known, but there are several risk factors that predispose certain people to get them which include:
- More common in women than men
- People over 30 years old
- Jobs or sports involving lots of overhead activity
- Genetic predisposition
- Metabolic disorders such as diabetes
- Thyroid Disorders
Symptoms of a Calcific tendinopathy
Some patients with Calcific tendonitis may not experience pain and just complain about a limited range of motion in their shoulder. However, over time, they may start to experience pain as the condition worsens.
Diagnosis is usually made using X-ray or Ultrasound where the calcium deposit is seen in the tendon of the rotator cuff muscles.
How is a Calcific tendinopathy treated?
Treatment can be conservative or surgery.
Conservative treatment can involve:
- NSAIDS and painkillers
- Shockwave Therapy
- Therapeutic ultrasound
- Rehabilitation: exercises to stabilize the shoulder
If conservative treatments do not improve the symptoms, the surgical intervention may be required.