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Calcified Tendonitis

Calcified Tendonitis refers to a disorder characterized by deposits of hydroxyapatite (a crystalline calcium phosphate) in any tendon of the body, but most commonly in the tendons of the rotator cuff (shoulder), causing pain and inflammation.

The condition is related to and may cause frozen shoulder.

What causes Calcified Tendonitis

Injury, trauma, or stress to parts of the body where muscles and tendons are important to function can cause Calcified Tendonitis. It often occurs in the tendons of the shoulder joints, but tendons of any joint may be involved in such a process.

Calcifiedation is the process by which fibers of a tendon become hardened by a deposit of calcium salts, causing inflammation.

Calcified Tendonitis symptoms

While the calcium is being deposited, afflicted individuals may feel only mild to moderate pain, or even no pain at all. For some unknown reason, Calcified Tendonitis becomes very painful when the deposits are reabsorbed. Common symptoms include pain in the shoulder and down the side of the arm, pain when lifting the arm overhead, pain when sleeping on the injured side and restriction of movement, as well as the onset of pain that is unrelated to shoulder position or activity.

  • pain
  • tenderness
  • restriction of motion.

Calcified Tendonitis diagnosis

Pain is often aggravated by elevation of the arm above shoulder level or by lying on the shoulder. Pain may awaken the patient from sleep. Other complaints may be stiffness, snapping, catching, or weakness of the shoulder.

The calcific deposits are visible on X-ray as discrete lumps or cloudy areas. The deposits look cloudy on X-ray if they are in the process of re-absorption, and this is also when they cause the most pain. The deposits are crystalline when in their resting phase and like toothpaste in the re-absorptive phase. However, poor correlation exists between the appearance of a calcific deposit on plain x-rays and its consistency on needling.

Calcified Tendonitis treatment

To relieve pain from Calcified Tendonitis and restore functioning of the injured part:

  • Take anti-inflammatory medicine if recommended or prescribed by your health care provider.
  • Put ice packs on the joint for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours.
  • Do the exercises prescribed by your health care provider to keep the joint moving.
  • Avoid activities that make the problem worse.

If the symptoms do not go away, your health care provider may give you a steroid injection.

This condition can be treated with surgery if other treatments do not work. In addition, surgery may be used to improve your range of motion if you have Calcified Tendonitis in your shoulder (frozen shoulder) and it is hard for you to move your shoulder. \


This web site is intended for your own informational purposes only. No person or entity associated with this web site purports to be engaging in the practice of medicine through this medium. The information you receive is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have an illness or medical problem, contact your health care provider.


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