Shoulder Joint Conditions

Calcific Tendinitis

What is calcific tendinitis?

This is a common condition where calcium forms within the tendons of the rotator cuff. Sometimes this is painless and is only diagnosed when patients have an x-ray for another reason.

However, sometimes it can cause inflammation of the surrounding tendon resulting in significant pain.

What are the symptoms?

When symptomatic, calcific tendinitis is extremely painful. It can start without reason but usually is caused by a trivial injury. Patients usually complain a throbbing pain at rest that becomes severe with movement of the elbow away from the body.

How is it diagnosed?

Calcium deposits can usually be seen on a simple x-ray. Very small deposits may be overlooked but can be seen on ultrasound scan.

What are calcific tendonitis treatment options?

The calcium can sometimes be reabsorbed by the body so one option is to use painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication and wait. Steroid injection can sometime be effective too.

Arthroscopic keyhole surgery is another option where a shoulder surgeon removes the calcium deposit from the tendon.

Devinder Garewal

Mr. Devinder Garewal

MBBS, BMedSci, FRACS (Orth), FAOrthA

Devinder completed his medical qualifications from the University of Melbourne and is a Fellow of the Royal Australiasian College of Surgeons and the Australian Orthopaedic Association.

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