-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Calcific tendonitis shoulder

Calcific tendonitis shoulder-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Calcific tendonitis in the shoulder can cause significant pain and discomfort, making it important to understand this condition and explore treatment options. In this article, you will learn about the causes, risk factors, symptoms, and diagnosis of calcific tendonitis. Additionally, you will discover various treatment options, both non-surgical and surgical, as well as the recovery and rehabilitation process. Lastly, we will discuss preventive measures to avoid calcific tendonitis in the shoulder.

What is Calcific Tendonitis in the Shoulder?

Calcific tendonitis is a condition characterized by the presence of calcium deposits in the tendons of the shoulder. These deposits can cause inflammation, leading to pain and restricted movement. The exact cause of calcific tendonitis is still unclear, but it is believed to be related to a combination of factors such as repetitive shoulder movements, trauma, and poor blood supply to the tendons.

Causes and Risk Factors of Calcific Tendonitis

While the exact cause of calcific tendonitis isn’t fully understood, several factors are believed to contribute to its development:

  • Age: Calcific tendonitis tends to occur more frequently in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50, although it can affect people of any age.
  • Gender: It’s more common in women than in men, though the reasons for this difference aren’t entirely clear.
  • Metabolic Factors: There may be metabolic factors involved in the formation of calcium deposits within the tendons. Conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and disorders of calcium metabolism may increase the risk.
  • Trauma or Overuse: Repetitive overhead movements or activities that place strain on the shoulder joint, such as lifting heavy objects or participating in sports like tennis or swimming, can contribute to the development of calcific tendonitis.
  • Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to developing calcific tendonitis, as it sometimes runs in families.
  • Biomechanical Factors: Abnormalities in shoulder mechanics or biomechanical imbalances can increase stress on the tendons, making them more susceptible to injury and calcification.
  • Vascular Factors: Some research suggests that disturbances in blood supply to the tendons may play a role in the development of calcific tendonitis.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as cold weather or high altitudes, has been associated with an increased risk of calcific tendonitis, though the exact mechanisms are not well understood.
  • Smoking: Smoking has been identified as a risk factor for calcific tendonitis, possibly due to its negative effects on circulation and tissue health.
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It’s important to note that while these factors may contribute to the development of calcific tendonitis, the condition can still occur in individuals without any apparent risk factors. Additionally, not everyone with risk factors will develop calcific tendonitis.

Calcific tendonitis shoulder-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Symptoms of Calcific Tendonitis

The symptoms of calcific tendonitis can vary from mild to severe and may worsen over time if left untreated. The most common symptom is shoulder pain, which can be sharp, throbbing, or dull. The pain is often worse during movement and can radiate down the arm. Other symptoms include stiffness, limited range of motion, and swelling around the affected shoulder

Diagnosing Calcific Tendonitis

To diagnose calcific tendonitis, your healthcare provider will first perform a thorough physical examination and review your medical history. They may also order imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasound to visualize the calcium deposits in the tendons. These tests can help confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the condition.

Treatment Options for Calcific Tendonitis

The treatment approach for calcific tendonitis depends on the severity of the symptoms and the impact on daily activities. In mild cases, non-surgical treatments are often recommended, while more severe cases may require surgical intervention

Non-Surgical Treatments for Calcific Tendonitis

Non-surgical treatments aim to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve shoulder function. These may include:

  • Rest and Activity Modification: Avoiding activities that worsen the symptoms and giving the shoulder time to heal.
  • Physical Therapy: Specific exercises and stretches to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve range of motion.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescription medications to manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Injecting corticosteroids directly into the affected area to provide temporary pain relief and reduce inflammation.
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT): High-energy shockwaves applied to the shoulder to break up the calcium deposits and stimulate healing.
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Calcific tendonitis shoulder-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Surgical Options for Calcific Tendonitis

Surgical Options for Calcific Tendonitis

In severe cases of calcific tendonitis where non-surgical treatments have not been effective, surgical intervention may be necessary. Some surgical options include:

  • Arthroscopic Debridement: The use of a small camera and specialized instruments to remove the calcium deposits and repair any damaged tissues.
  • Ultrasound-guided needling: Inserting a needle into the calcium deposit to aspirate the fluid and break up the deposits.
  • Open Surgery: In rare cases, open surgery may be required to remove the calcium deposits and repair the affected tendons.

Recovery and Rehabilitation after Treatment

Following treatment for calcific tendonitis, a structured rehabilitation program is essential to restore shoulder function and prevent recurrence. This may involve:

  • Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist to gradually strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve range of motion.
  • Home Exercises: Performing prescribed exercises at home to maintain flexibility and prevent stiffness.
  • Gradual Return to Activities: Gradually reintroducing activities and sports, following the guidance of your healthcare provider.

Preventing Calcific Tendonitis in the Shoulder

While calcific tendonitis cannot always be prevented, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. These include:

  • Proper Shoulder Mechanics: Maintaining proper posture and using correct techniques during activities that involve the shoulder.
  • Avoiding Overuse: Taking regular breaks and avoiding repetitive overhead movements.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Regularly performing exercises that target the shoulder muscles to improve strength and stability.
  • Warm-up and Stretching: Prioritizing warm-up exercises and stretching before engaging in physical activities.
  • Balanced Nutrition: Consuming a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to support bone health.
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Calcific tendonitis in the shoulder can be a painful and debilitating condition. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options, individuals can take proactive steps to manage and prevent this condition. If you are experiencing shoulder pain or suspect calcific tendonitis, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Remember, early intervention can lead to faster recovery and better long-term outcomes.

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