What is Calcification Tendinitis?
Symptoms of Calcification Tendinitis
- Pre-calcification stage: This is the beginning of calcium formation where changes happen in the cells and you may not experience any symptoms.
- Calcific stage: The cells release calcium, which combines to form calcium deposits. This stage generally lasts for a varied period of time without any pain and is called the resting phase. The most painful phase called resorptive phase begins after the resting phase. Most patients seek treatment during this phase due to the severe pain associated with this stage.
- Post-calcific stage: The calcium deposition starts being replaced with normal rotator cuff tendon. This stage is usually painless.
Causes of Calcification Tendinitis
Diagnosis of Calcification Tendinitis
Treatment of Calcification Tendinitis
- Anti-Inflammatory medications: The pain associated with calcific deposits can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications.
- Steroid injections: If you experience severe pain, steroid injections may be administered to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Lavage procedure: In order to control the severe pain during the resorptive stage, your doctor may suggest a procedure called lavage. You doctor will insert two large needles into the shoulder joint to flush the calcium deposits with saline solution (salt solution) repeatedly to loosen them. After they loosen, the deposits are then aspirated or sucked out through the needle.
- Heat/ice application: A washcloth dipped in warm or an ice water can be placed on the affected shoulder to relieve pain.
- Shock wave therapy: This therapy is administered once a week for up to 3 weeks. Your therapist will generate pulses of shock waves on the affected area to break the calcium deposits so that they can be easily absorbed by the body.
- Arthroscopic surgery: Your surgeon will make a small incision and insert an arthroscope (lighted camera) into the shoulder joint. Calcium deposits will be located in the rotator cuff tendon using the arthroscope, then the deposits are removed with tiny surgical tools and the area is rinsed with saline solution.
- Open surgery: In very rare cases, your surgeon will cut through the skin, muscles and the surrounding tissues to remove the calcium deposits. The area will be rinsed to remove the remaining calcium crystals. The muscles and skin will then be stitched together to close the incision.
Rehabilitation is required to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and stabilise the shoulder joint. After surgery, you will be asked to support your shoulder in a sling. Your therapist may recommend ice, electrical stimulation and massage therapy to control pain, swelling and ease muscle spasms during the initial few sessions of rehabilitation.
Range of motion exercises and active stretching may be recommended after arthroscopic surgery. You will have to start with passive exercises, like gently moving your shoulder joint and stretching your arm, and then progress to active exercises. You will be taught many ways you can perform daily tasks without exerting much pressure on your shoulder, in an attempt to get you back to a normal lifestyle.