To date, no definitive cause for calcific tendinitis has been identified. Several possibilities have been eliminated from the list of possible causes. It’s not triggered by too much calcium in the diet; people with the condition have normal calcium levels in their blood workup. Don’t limit your calcium intake if you have calcific tendinitis because you could increase your risk of osteoporosis as your body makes up the lack by scavenging it from your bones.
In a few cases, metabolic conditions have been fingered as the triggering cause for calcific Tendinitis. Sometimes kidney problems have also been indicated (or calcific Tendinitis has been seen as a symptom of kidney conditions, as the kidney is one of the major filters for calcium in the blood stream. Overuse of the shoulder doesn’t trigger calcific tendon either; it can cause rotator cuff wear and tear, but that’s not the same condition and calcium deposits are not present.
May be related to age
Some have speculated that calcific tendinitis does have some increased propensity to occur as we age, since most people under the age of 30 do not have calcium deposits in their tendons.
Most cases of calcific tendinitis are asymptomatic, until the calcium deposits break up and cause inflammation. The most common symptom (before inflammation) is when you have difficulty raising your arm above your shoulder level, triggered by the calcium deposit rubbing inside the rotator cuff. This is sometimes called “shoulder impingement syndrome”.
One hazard of calcific Tendinitis is calcium crystals shedding off the deposit and cause inflammation elsewhere. This may be the first indication that a problem exists as those crystals migrate and cause pain elsewhere. These calcium deposits may be re-absorbed by the body at this time.
Calcific Tendinitis has a quick trigger point, rather than small amounts of pain that gradually worsen. Most cases, when it triggers, it’s because the calcium crystals have broken free; the symptoms go away within a week or two as they’re re-absorbed by the body.
If you see your doctor during an attack of acute calcific tendinitis, it can be seen on an x-ray, via the deposits that exist in your shoulder rotator cuff. Usually, calcific tendinitis treatment simply consists of taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers and applying ice. Doing range of motion exercises during this time can also prevent experiencing “frozen shoulder” symptoms.
For particularly severe pain, your doctor can give you a steroid or cortisone injection; in extreme cases, arthroscopic surgery can be recommended to break up the calcium nodule and extract it with a syringe.