Calcific Tendonitis Treatment
Your muscles are connected to your bones with tendons. These strong bands of tissue can be affected by deposits of calcium, causing a condition known as calcific tendonitis. Calcium deposits can build up throughout the tendon or they can collect in one spot.
While the cause of calcific tendonitis has not yet been identified, it is more prevalent in women than men. Onset of the condition most commonly happens around the age of 30. There does seem to be a connection between diabetes and thyroid disorders and calcific tendonitis. Additionally, the condition seems to affect the rotator cuff more than any other area in the body.
Treatment for this condition is dependent on the severity of the calcium buildup. The body reabsorbs the calcium in many cases, so intervening treatment may not be necessary. Once reabsorbed, there is still the chance that more calcium deposits will appear.
Your doctor will most likely begin treatment with rest and an anti-inflammatory medication to ease the discomfort and inflammation caused by the condition. Ibuprofen or naproxen are usually prescribed for inflammation.
In the instances where anti-inflammatories and rest are not enough to stop the pain, a cortisone injection may be administered. This steroid injection is used for short-term reduction of inflammation.
Another technique used in calcific tendonitis treatment is a procedure call lavage. Two needles are inserted into the tendon and the area is rinsed with a saline, or saltwater solution. This technique loosens the calcium particles from the tendons and eases the pain.
Barbotage, or fine needling, is yet another form of treatment. This procedure uses tiny needles to suck the calcium deposits out of the tendon.
Calcium deposits in the tendon can also be broken up or shattered by the use of ultrasound and shockwave therapy.
When Surgery Is Required
Though there are various options for removing the calcium deposits, occasionally surgery is necessary when the other procedures do not provide results. One in ten people with calcific tendonitis in the shoulder require surgical intervention in order to relieve the pain caused by the condition.
In most cases where surgery is necessary, arthroscopic surgery is used to remove the deposits. An arthroscope is inserted through a small incision and the calcium is removed, then the area is rinsed clean. In more severe situations, open surgery may be needed to eliminate the calcium, but these cases are very rare.
Symptoms and Causes of Calcific Tendonitis
Most people with calcific tendonitis experience pain, usually in the shoulder, although the condition can affect tendons and muscles throughout the body. About a third of those who have the condition do not have any noticeable symptoms.
When calcific tendonitis affects the rotator cuff, you may experience pain in the front or back of your shoulder. The pain may radiate into your arm. You may have trouble moving your arm or the range of motion may be severely limited. Some patients experience pain levels so intense it interferes with their sleep.
There are three stages relating to the calcium buildup. The pre-calcification stage is when cellular changes take place in certain areas of the tendon. These are the sites where calcium will begin to buildup. In the calcific stage, calcium is released from cells and starts to build up in these areas. After it forms a deposit, it goes through a resting period before being reabsorbed back into the body. When resorption begins, so does the pain. This is the most painful part of the process. The last stage is the post-calcific stage when the calcium is gone, and healthy tendon tissue has formed.
Dr. Dehdari has experience in the diagnosis and treatment of calcific tendonitis, as well as arthritis and sports-related injuries. If you are experiencing shoulder pain or have limited movement, contact us today and schedule an appointment.