Dr. Demos Neophytou

Cyprus Orthopaedic Surgeon


Calcifying Tendinitis of the rotator cuff is characterized by the deposition of calcium within the rotator cuff tendon itself. Although it looks like bone within the rotator cuff actually is not. The contents of the deposit have calcium in it, so it appears on X-rays as a piece of bone, but it typically has the consistency of toothpaste. There are occasions where we obtain X-rays for other reasons and find an incidental deposit of calcium and the patient has no shoulder pain. In those cases no treatment is needed. These deposits are not harmful.

Some patients with calcific tendinitis present with exquisite shoulder pain. Most have not suffered trauma and simply wake up one day with very severe shoulder pain. On physical exam, the area is found to be exquisitely tender to touch. Obviously calcific tendinitis can be a particularly painful and disabling condition in some individuals. Patients with calcific tendonitis usually do not recall any shoulder injury or shoulder trauma. They usually note that the pain simply started one day without cause and effect.

Calcific tendonitis occurs in stages The precalcification phase, the deposition phase, and finally the resorption phase. It is during the resorption phase of calcific tendonitis — where your body is trying to break up and reabsorb the calcium — where the pain becomes a major issue. The other phases mentioned usually do not cause pain.

Treatment of calcific tendonitis
In patients with little or no pain, no active treatment is usually necessary. Unfortunately many patients are truly miserable and require treatment. For these reasons surgery is recommended to remove the deposit. The fastest, easiest, most effective and least invasive means of getting rid of the calcific tendonitis deposit is to have your surgeon perform an arthroscopy- key hole surgery, to remove the calcium deposits and wash the shoulder thoroughly. Following that physiotherapy will bring the patient back to normal activities.