Degenerative Calcification: This painful condition occurs when calcium deposits form in tendons of the rotator cuff. These tendons and surrounding tissues in the shoulder become inflamed. This condition typically affects adults.
Reactive Calcification: This painful condition occurs when calcium deposits form in tendons of the rotator cuff. These tendons and surrounding tissues in the shoulder become inflamed. Reactive calcification often develops in young people, but it can affect people of all ages.
Calcific Tendinitis - Degenerative Calcification
Calcific Tendinitis - Reactive Calcification
Causes & Triggers
Degenerative Calcification: The exact cause of degenerative calcification is not known. Physicians believe it is triggered by the wear and tear of aging. Over time, normal use of the shoulder can weaken and damage the tendons of the rotator cuff. As the fibers of these tendons attempt to heal, calcium crystals can be deposited in the tissue. The crystals collect to form large, painful deposits.
Reactive Calcification: The exact cause of reactive calcification is not known, but the process is a progression. Once the process it triggered (for reasons that are unclear),calcium crystals begin to form and collect within the tissues of a tendon. This usually is not painful, and most people don’t realize the deposits are forming. Eventually, the calcification process will stop, and the calcium deposits will begin to break down and be reabsorbed by the body. It is during the reabsorption phase that many people feel pain.
- Overuse injury
- Repetitive motion
Signs & Symptoms
Degenerative Calcification: The most common symptom of this condition is moderate to severe shoulder pain. Patients often describe it as a burning sensation. The pain is usually caused by physical activity, especially by lifting the arm. The shoulder may also feel stiff and the range of movement may be limited.
Reactive Calcification: Symptoms of reactive calcification may include moderate to severe pain, especially when the arm is lifted. Other symptoms may include stiffness or restriction of shoulder movement, swelling in the joint, and pain at night that disrupts sleep.
- Limited or loss of range of motion
Tips & Treatment
Degenerative Calcification: Treatment options may include anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to break up and remove the deposits.
Reactive Calcification: Treatment options may include anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, and physical therapy. In many cases, treatment is not needed because symptoms improve on their own. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to break up and remove the deposits.
- Because the symptoms of this condition are similar to many other shoulder conditions, seek a proper diagnosis from a well-qualified orthopedic specialist.
- Non-surgical treatment of symptoms may include rest, hot or cold packs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication, physical therapy and/or corticosterioid injections.