Calcific tendonitis is a problem with the shoulder’stendons and muscles. This condition occurs due to the formation of calcium deposits in the tendons (tissue which attaches muscle to bone) of the rotator cuff (group of muscles and tendons stabilising the shoulder). This calcium build-up causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding it, and intense shoulder pain. The space between the rotator cuff and the acromion (outer bony end of the shoulder blade) is also reduced due to the calcium deposits, affecting the normal functioning of the rotator cuff.
The deposits often occur in people above 30-40 years old and are more common in diabetic patients.
During the process of calcium deposition, you may either experience no pain at all or mild to moderate pain. You may experience pain while lifting your arm or loss of motion in the shoulder due to stiffness. Severe pain may also interfere with your sleep.
These symptoms are characteristic to three stages through which calcific tendonitis progresses.
The exact cause of calcific tendonitis is unknown. It is believed that aging, increased pressure on the tendons and/or severe wear-and-tear may be responsible for calcification. Inadequate oxygen in the tendons may also cause calcium deposition.
Calcific tendonitisis diagnosed by thorough physical examination of the shoulder and a detailed medical history carried out by your doctor. X-rays can be ordered to detect calcific deposits.The deposits not seen on X-rays can be viewed with an ultrasound scan which allows assessing the size of the deposits from all directions..
The calcific tendonitisgenerally resolves on its own without the need for surgery. Certain conservative treatment measures may be recommended by your physician.
The non-surgical approach is the first line of therapy for calcific tendonitis.
Rehabilitation is required to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and stabilise the shoulder joint. After surgery, you will be asked to support your shoulder in a sling. Your therapist may recommend ice, electrical stimulation and massage therapy to control pain, swelling and ease muscle spasms during the initial few sessions of rehabilitation.
Range of motion exercises and active stretching may be recommended after arthroscopic surgery. You will have to start with passive exercises, like gently moving your shoulder joint and stretching your arm, and then progress to active exercises. You will be taught many ways you can perform daily tasks without exerting much pressure on your shoulder, in an attempt to get you back to a normal lifestyle.