Calcific tendonitis: why it happens and how to treat it

Calcific tendonitis is a condition that occurs when calcium deposits form in the tendons, causing pain and inflammation. The condition is most common in the shoulder, but can also occur in the elbow, hip, and knee. Calcific tendonitis is often caused by repetitive motion or injury to the affected area.

What causes calcific tendonitis?

The cause of calcific tendonitis is not fully understood, but it is thought to be the result of overuse or strain on a joint. More specifically, It is caused by the deposition of calcium hydroxyapatite crystals commonly within the supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons.

It is believed that vitamin D deficiency may be related to the development of calcific tendonitis. Calcific tendinitis can also be caused by an injury.

Diagnosis of the condition

Calcific tendonitis is typically diagnosed using X-ray imaging, which can show the presence of calcium deposits in the tendons. Sometimes, additional imaging tests, such as MRI or ultrasound, may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. A patient history and physical examination of the doctor also helps to ascertain the presence of calcific tendonitis.

Progress of the disorder

The progression of calcific tendonitis varies from person to person. In some cases, the calcium deposits may resolve on their own without any treatment. However, in other cases the calcium deposits can grow larger and more painful. If left untreated, calcific tendonitis can cause permanent damage to the tendons and surrounding tissue.

Calcific tendonitis can also get worse over time. The symptoms of calcific tendonitis may come and go, but they will typically get worse with time. 

How to treat calcific tendonitis?

There are several treatment options available for calcific tendonitis. These include physical therapy, steroid injections, and surgery. Physical therapy can help to reduce pain and improve range of motion.

The first step is to rest the affected area. Then, you can use topical agents such as glucocorticosteroids and salicylates to reduce swelling and pain in the affected area.

You should apply heat and ice therapy with a cold pack or ice massage. You can also wear a splint or brace. If these treatments do not work, your doctor may inject glucocorticosteroids directly into the affected tendon to reduce swelling and pain.

Your doctor may also prescribe oral anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Your doctor may also prescribe a steroid medication such as prednisone.

You should also avoid making any sudden movements that could cause the tendon to tear. Stop using any activity that aggravates the condition.

Prevention of calcific tendonitis

Treatment for calcific tendonitis typically involves the use of medication, physical therapy, and rest. Surgery is rarely needed. Your doctor will likely recommend the following treatment methods: Medication Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce pain and swelling. Medications commonly prescribed for calcific tendonitis include: glucocorticoids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or a combination of the two.

Role of Diet in Calcific Tendonitis

Diet plays a role in calcific tendonitis, as certain foods can contribute to the build-up of calcium deposits. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help to prevent calcific tendonitis, while a diet high in sugar and saturated fat can contribute to the condition.