Calcific Tendonitis

Calcific tendonitis is a painful build up of calcium within a tendon, and commonly affects the tendons of the rotator cuff (usually the supraspinatus tendon). There is associated inflammation leading to subacromial impingement.

Calcific tendonitis is an extremely painful condition of the shoulder. Pain is similar to shoulder impingement or rotator cuff pain, though can be worse, and is felt over the top and front of the shoulder. The pain can come on very suddenly and resting the shoulder does not always help with the pain. Pain can be particularly bad at night.

X-rays of the shoulder will confirm a calcium deposit (lump) but calcium will also be seen on ultrasound and MRI scans.

Painkillers are advised, but a steroid injection around the tendons may settle the pain rapidly. In those patients, who’s pain returns, intervention can be offered in the form of either an ultrasound guided barbotage procedure or an arthroscopic (keyhole) excision of calcific deposit and subacromial decompression. The pros and cons of each can be discussed at your consultation.