Calcific Tendinitis

Also Known as:

Calcium Deposits

What is it?

The shoulder is a complex joint that depends on the smooth operation of a number of muscles, tendons, ligaments and other tissues to attain fluid motion. The rotator cuff, a cluster of four muscles and their respective tendons at the top of the humerus, or upper-arm bone, is one of the areas in the shoulder most susceptible to injury and chronic ailments.

Calcific tendonitis refers to a build-up of calcium in the rotator cuff (calcific deposit). When calcium builds up in the area, fluidity of the joint is reduced, causing pain to the patient. The pain can initially be extremely intense. This usually settles over a few months and there is only pain in certain positions of the arm and when lying on the shoulder.

The calcific (calcium) deposit lies within the rotator cuff tendon where it 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.

Calcific Deposit causing Calcific Tendinitis seen on X-Ray


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

Rarely Surgery is required - 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.


Videos of the Arthroscopic Release of the Calcium Deposit:

Click on Picture to see release of the calcium from the tendon. The released calcium looks like a snowstorm

Sometimes the calcium looks more like toothpaste, as in this video.


Patient Experience:

1. Chronic Shoulder - A Swannell

Patient Information

+ Anatomy
+ Ultrasound
+ MRI Scan

+ Arthroscopy
+ Injections
+ Sports Injuries
+ Subacromial Impingement
+ Calcific Tendinitis
- Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression
+ Shoulder Dislocations
Arthroscopic Stabilisation
- Capsular Shrinkage
- SLAP Lesions
+ Frozen Shoulder
- Capsular Release
+ AC joint problems
- ACJ Arthritis
   - ACJ Excision
- ACJ Dislocations
+ Rotator Cuff Tears
- Arthroscopic Repair
+ Shoulder Arthritis
- Surface Replacement
+ Shoulder Sling
- Living with a Shoulder Sling
Sling Application
- CryoCuff Shoulder Sling
+ Your Anaesthetic
+ Viscoseal
+ Patient Experiences


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