Once the diagnosis is made, several treatment strategies are available, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, shoulder injections, shockwave therapy and lastly, arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery to remove the calcium deposit.
Non-surgical methods to treat of your shoulder calcific tendonitis
Pain management and physiotherapy
In combination with pain medication or anti-inflammatory injections, physical therapy can be a very effective way of treating your calcific tendonitis. As soon as the pain subsides, you are able to begin exercises to reduce the pressure on the affected tendon.
Treatment of your shoulder calcific tendonitis with shockwave therapies
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is one method of shockwave therapy which involves delivering mechanical shocks to the area of the calcific build-up. During this therapy, the calcific deposits are broken open by the shockwaves.
Shoulder Calcific tendonitis surgery
Surgery for calcific tendonitis can be carried out arthroscopically, during a minimally invasive procedure, or during an open surgery. Both procedures involve removing the deposit plus or minus shaving away part of the acromion bone (subacromial decompression) to give the tendon(s) more space to function.
How we diagnose shoulder calcific tendonitis
Calcium deposits within the tendon substance can be easily identified with a shoulder X-ray. More advanced imaging techniques (such as MRIs), may be recommended in cases of high suspicion, or in order to exclude other sources of pain in your shoulder.
Symptoms of shoulder calcific tendonitis
Patients with shoulder calcification complain about different symptoms which can vary depending on the stage of the disease and the location and size of the calcific deposit. Those affected who are in the early phase of shoulder calcification often show no signs or symptoms. As the condition progresses, minor pain can become worse, or in extreme cases severe. If you experience sudden pain in a resting position or the pain increases with movement, this may indicate calcific tendonitis. Signs & symptoms you may have calcific tendonitis:
- Shoulder pain or discomfort
- Pain is concentrated either on the front or back of your shoulder and down the arm
- Sudden or gradual increase of pain (as calcium deposits build-up)
- In severe cases, pain may immobilise the arm and interfere with sleep
When your shoulder hurts
Blow-drying your hair, hanging up your clothes or pulling your shirt over your head – anyone who has ever had persistent shoulder pain knows that the joint is indispensable for many movements. Everyday life can become torture for patients with painful calcific tendonitis.
Our shoulder specialists specialise in treating calcific tendonitis. We work with you to find the precise diagnosis, advising on the best course of action to resolve your condition and assist in relieving your pain.