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Increased calcium deposition causes pain & inflammation in rotator cuff


What are the causes?

Calcific tendonitis is due to a buildup of calcium called hydroxyapatite that forms in the rotator cuff. Between the bones of the rotator cuff there is 8mm of room and the increase in calcium deposition can cause pain and inflammation in the rotator cuff.

How do you know if you have Calcific Tendonitis of the Rotator Cuff?

Symptoms that patients report are pain with movement of the shoulder, especially movement above the arm. They also have difficulty completing physical therapy due to the pain. An x-ray can confirm the diagnosis as seen in this picture below.









What are the treatment options for Calcific tendonitis of the shoulder?

The first treatment options include physical therapy and a cortisone injection to see if your body is able to resorb the calcium deposit and strengthen the shoulder as some patients are asymptomatic and strengthening the shoulder can reduce inflammation on the rotator cuff. When these treatments fail, the next step is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove the calcification.

This treatment is called percutaneous tenotomy (Tenex) where we can remove the calcium by visualizing the calcium under ultrasound and guiding a needle to remove the calcium deposit without making an incision in the skin.

The last resort is surgery and the calcium deposit can be removed via a surgery. Most patients recover completely after removal of the calcification and can return to activities quickly as long as there is no rotator cuff tear.

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