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Calcific tendinitis (also called calcific tendinopathy) happens when calcium builds up in the tendons. It is most common in the shoulders. But it may occur in the elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, or feet. People most affected by calcific tendinitis are between 30 and 50 years old. Women are more likely to have it
than men. It isn't normally a sports-related problem.
Calcific tendinitis starts with a buildup of calcium that causes a chemical reaction with other tissues in the tendon to cause pain. In the shoulder, the calcium is most often built up inside the rotator cuff.
Symptoms may include pain and stiffness that often comes back but usually lasts 1 to 2 months. It is often worse at night and may make it hard to sleep.
Your doctor will ask questions about your past health and your symptoms and will do a physical exam. He or she may do an X-ray to look for calcium deposits. An ultrasound or MRI of the area may also be done.
Treatment includes rest, ice, medicines to reduce pain and swelling, and gentle range-of-motion exercises. In most cases, the pain of a flare-up will go away after 1 to 2 months.
If you're in a lot of pain, your doctor may inject steroid medicine into the area.
If your doctor suggests removing the calcium deposit, you have a few options:
November 30, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Timothy Bhattacharyya, MD
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