What is calcific tendinitis?
Calcific tendinitis is a condition that causes the formation of a small calcium deposit within the tendons of the rotator cuff. These deposits are usually found in patients at least 30-40 years of age, and have a higher incidence in diabetics. The most commonly involved muscles are the supraspinatus and infraspinatus, which are part of the rotator cuff musculature.
The calcium deposits are not always painful, and even when painful they will often spontaneously resolve after a period of 1-4 weeks, but not always. Sometimes calcific tendinitis is an incidental finding when the chiropractor takes an x-ray as part of the examination.
The cause of calcium deposits within the rotator cuff tendon is not entirely understood. Different ideas have been suggested, including trauma, poor blood supply, or even autoimmune disease and ageing of the tendon, but the evidence to support these conclusions is not clear.
Calcific tendinitis usually progresses predictably, and almost always resolves eventually without surgery. The typical stages and progression are:
Patients usually seek treatment during the painful resorptive phase of the calcific stage, but quite often patients have the deposits found incidentally as part of their chiropractic evaluation of shoulder pain.
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