Shoulderdoc - Patient information and professional educational material on shoulder and elbow problems
For Treatment or More Information:
01625 545071/2/3
Back Home Up Search

Calcific Tendinitis

Patient Information
Calcific Tendinitis
Calcific TendonitisCalcific Tendonitis
Ultrasound Guided BarbotageUltrasound Guided Barbotage

Google Shoulderdoc
[ Advanced Search ]

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. satisfies the INTUTE criteria for quality and has been awarded 'editor's choice'.

   >>Website last updated: 28 September 2014

Sitemap Sitemap   Print page Print   advanced searchSearch   email articleEmail

Calcific Tendonitis

Calcific tendonitis refers to a build-up of calcium in the rotator cuff (calcific deposit). When calcium builds up in the tendon, it can cause a build up of pressure in the tendon, as well causing a chemical irritation. This leads to pain. The pain can be extremely intense. It is one of the worst pains in the shoulder (the other being Frozen Shoulder ). 

In addition to the chemical irritation and presssure, the calcific (calcium) deposit reduces the space between the rotator cuff and the acromion, as well as affecting the normal function of the rotator cuff. This can lead to subacromial impingement between the acromion and the calcium deposit in the rotator cuff when lifting the arm overhead.

The cause of the calcium build-up in the rotator cuff is not known. It tends to be more common in people between the ages of 30-60 years of age. It does eventually disappear spontaneously, but this can take between 5 to 10 years to resolve.

Calcific deposit in the rotator cuff of the shoulder:


The calcific deposit can be seen on plain x-rays, however ultrasound scan is better to find small calcific deposits which can be missed on x-rays. Ultrasound also makes it possible to assess the size of the deposit in all directions. The clinician can also see the blood vessels around the calcific deposit.

Calcific deposit on x-ray

Calcific deposit on ultrasound scan

Click Here for a video of a calcific deposit on Ultrasound Scan

Animation showing the correlation of the ultrasound and x-ray views:


Treatment of calcific tendinitis involves:

1.        Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications

2.        Physiotherapy - keeps your shoulder strong and flexible and reduce the irritation

3.        Cortisone steroid injections - reduces inflammation and control the pain

4.   Ultrasound guided Barbotage    - under ultrasound guidance the calcific deposit is injected with a salt water solution and the calcium is also sucked out into a syringe. The area is then repeatedly washed.

5.    Surgical excision


Surgery for Calcific tendonitis:

Surgery is required if the pain is not controlled with the methods above and/or the pain is extremely severe, with night pain.

The goal of any surgery to reduce the effects of impingement, by  increasing the amount of space between the acromion and the rotator cuff tendons, which will then allow for easier movement and less pain and inflammation. The calcium deposit is also debrided and released at the same time. The operation performed is Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression & Excision of the Calcific Deposit .


  A probe is inserted into the rotator cuff tendon and the deposit.   The released calcium looks like toothpaste, as it is removed.

Click for video (YouTube)



Patient Experience:

1. Chronic Shoulder - A Swannell

a structure (tissue) that attaches a muscle to a bone. When a tendon becomes inflamed, the condition is referred to as tendinitis or tendonitis.
a structure (tissue) that attaches a muscle to a bone. When a tendon becomes inflamed, the condition is referred to as tendinitis or tendonitis.
Remove unwanted, dead tissue. Debride comes from the French 'debrider', to remove the bridle (as from a horse).

Print page Print page    email article Email article

Bookmark this page:

  • google
  • netscape
  • stumbleupon
  • yahoo

Tags: No tags defined for this article. [View tag cloud]

Related Articles

Propionibacterium acnes Infection
Benjamin Kadler, Saurabh Mehta  & Lennard Funk What is P. acnes? P. a...
27/07/2014 18:46:49

Osteochondral Lesions of the Shoulder
Lennard Funk What is it? Osteochondral lesion or osteochondral defect (OCD) i...
01/12/2012 15:11:16

Internal Impingement
What is impingement? The word impingement basically means 'rubbing' or 'catchin...
03/11/2012 13:22:39

Information on Shoulder disorders and injuries. Click on the Menu on the left for...
21/01/2012 18:02:31

Shoulder Clicks, Clunks and Pops
Lennard Funk, 2012 Noises in the joints, such as popping, cracking or clicking...
19/01/2012 22:49:49

Ultrasound Guided Barbotage
for Calcific Tendonosis Of The Rotator Cuff J Harris  , L Funk   &...
07/02/2011 09:00:51

Creative Commons Licence The material on this website is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between ourselves and our patients. Full Disclaimer
Manchester Arm Clinic Shoulder fellowships Shoulder Scan Wrightington Upper Limb Unit Website by Blackbox E-Marketing