Calcific Tendinitis

Calcium is a substance in all areas of the body and plays a major role in cellular messaging, intracellular processes like muscle cell contraction.  For a variety of reasons, calcium can precipitate and deposit in soft tissues like tendons and muscle.  While it can occur in just about any tendon, it is most common in the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder.  New onset calcific deposits can be extremely painful and patients may be unable to move or elevate their arm and shoulder.  Treatment options include medications, physical therapy, and injections.  For persistent symptoms not responsive to conservative treatment, surgery can be a great option to restore function and eliminate pain.  The surgery is done arthroscopic and involves decompressing the calcific deposit, debriding abnormal calcified tissue, and then repairing the defect in the tendon.

X-ray image of calcific tendinitis of the rotator cuff
MRI of the shoulder showing a calcific deposit in the rotator cuff tendon

Watch a video of a shoulder arthroscopy with calcific tendon debridement and repair.