Calcific Tendinitis of the Shoulder (Degenerative)

Calcific tendinitis of the shoulder, also known as degenerative calcification, is a painful condition that occurs when calcium deposits build up in tendons near the shoulder. Degenerative calcification is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain.


Researchers are unsure what causes calcific tendinitis of the shoulder. It is most likely the result of age and general wear and tear. Normal use of the shoulder weakens tendons in the rotator cuff and calcium deposits form when the tendons heal. As these deposits grow in size, they become more painful. You are at greater risk of degenerative calcification if you are female, over 30, have diabetes or thyroid disease, and participate in sports that require overhead arm movement.


Moderate, burning shoulder pain is the most common symptom of degenerative calcification. Pain usually worsens with activity that requires lifting the arm or when sleeping. Shoulder stiffness and decreased range of motion are also possible.


In order to diagnose degenerative calcification, physicians will review symptoms and move the arm in a variety of positions to determine the extent of the injury. X-rays or MRIs may also be used to rule out other causes of shoulder pain, such as arthritis.


Non-surgical options are often effective in treating degenerative calcification, including anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, and physical therapy. If symptoms do not respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary to remove the deposits.

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