Calcific tendonitis is caused by the accumulation of calcium in the tendons. Take note that it can form in any tendon, but usually develops in the rotator cuff of the shoulder and oftentimes in the wrist, knee, hip, elbow and the ankle joints.
With the accumulation of calcium deposits, the tendon is pressurized and tensed. This results to pain and limited range of movement. The pain is very severe when the individual is resting or sleeping. The condition can heal by itself but it can years.
Causes of calcific tendonitis
Calcific tendonitis occurs due to the reduced of blood supply to the tendon. It can also be caused by the aging of the tendon at around 30 to 60 years old. Those who are suffering from diabetes are more susceptible to calcific tendonitis.
Symptoms of calcific tendonitis in the shoulder have three stages and they do not last long and subsides after a period of time. The first stage is the pre-calcification stage where the person has no symptoms and the cells that are found inside the tendon starts to change and calcium deposits accumulate in the tendon area.
The second stage is called the calcific stage where the symptoms starts to develop. The calcium from the cells starts to leak at the area to form a deposit and the calcium appears chalky until it is calcified. Take note that this is the symptomless resting phase.
When the resting phase is over, the re-absorption will begin and it is in this phase that the person will experience excruciating pain in the shoulder. He/she has difficulty in lifting the shoulder due to the pain. The pain can be felt even when sleeping on the affected shoulder. In addition, there is stiffness and weakness of the shoulder joint as well as a snapping sensation.
Treatment for calcific tendonitis
Calcific tendonitis can be treated by rest, application of ice and warm compress, anti-inflammatory medications, analgesics and physical therapy. Patients are given steroidal drugs at the affected area.
- Apply an ice pack over the affected area and allow the individual to rest the affected rotator cuff of the shoulder.
- Seek the help of a physical therapist in order to increase the range of motion. Some exercises can be given by the therapist that the individual can perform at home. The exercises can help loosen the muscles and tendon that surrounds the affected calcific tendon.
- Shock wave therapy works by breaking up the calcium deposits in the tissue. The sound waves of this therapy are focused on the deposit of calcium which penetrates it and breaks it down. Once the calcium turns into tiny particles, it is absorb by the body back into the blood.
- Homeopathic medications such as rhus tox, ruta and arnica are also useful in treating calcific tendonitis.
- Acupuncture which is an alternative therapy is also beneficial in minimizing the pain. It can be combined with other treatment options to lessen the pain.