What is Calcific tendinitis?

Calcific tendinitis is caused by the build up of calcium deposits in your muscles or tendons. In the case of your shoulder this is the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that connects your upper arm to your shoulder.

How will calcific tendinitis effect me?

This condition can restrict the range of motion in your arm, as well as cause pain and discomfort. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain.

Who is affected by this condition?

It is often seen in people who are involved in heavy lifting, basketball players of tennis players. It occurs most commonly between 30 and 60 years of age and can, eventually resolve of its own accord; although this can take some years.

How is Calcific tendinitis diagnosed?

Calcific tendinitis is usually diagnosed via x-ray or ultrasound; ultrasound is a more useful diagnostic tool as it is more likely to show smaller deposits and gives a clearer indication of the size of larger deposits. Your GP can refer you for x-ray whereas osteopaths and physiotherapists can refer you for ultrasound scans.

Treatment Options

There are a number of possible treatment options for calcific tendinitis of the shoulder. These include painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication; physiotherapy or osteopathy to keep the shoulder strong and mobile; steroid injections to reduce the inflammation, Barbotage to break down and “wash out” the calcium deposit, surgical excision and Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT). Research has shown ESWT to be a “safe and effective non-invasive treatment for people with calcific tendinitis of the shoulder”.1