Calcifying Tendonitis Of Shoulder Pain

Calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder is a painful acute or chronic disorder distinguished by calcifications in rotator cuff tendons. It will cause sudden sharp pains on some movements and chronic long-term dull aches, stiffness and weakness of the shoulder

Size of the deposits can vary from just millimetres to over a centimetre or more.  Pain is experienced when raising the arm above the shoulder because the deposits impinge the supraspinatus tendon when it passes under the acromion on the scapula. It can also be painful when pressure is felt such as lying on it, and sleeping may be uncomfortable.

The cause is unknown, reduced blood flow may cause tendon tissue to change its characteristics and become firmer progressively changing to a calcific nature. Trauma and healing some scar tissue also takes on this character. Diagnosis is by the clinical features and investigations such as ultrasound, X-ray and MRI scan.

7% of persons with shoulder pain have this condition most commonly between 30 and 50 years, woman are more affected than men. The calcifications occur mostly in the supraspinatus tendon (51%–90%) and least commonly in the subscapularis tendon (3%).

There are three stages of calcific deposits

  • Forming: damage and reduced circulation within of fibrocartilaginous tendons, repair is difficult and leads to deposits forming within the tendon.
  • Hard: deposits become symptomatic and painful restricting movement from the shoulder.
  • Soft: the deposits transform to a softer quality like toothpaste making it easier for reabsorption.