Calcific Tendinitis

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Calcific tendinitis (also called calcific tendinopathy) occurs when calcium builds up in the tendons. Tissue tears and natural tissue breakdown (degenerative changes) increase the chance of these deposits.

Calcific tendinitis is most common in the shoulders. But it may occur in the elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, or feet. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and stiffness that often recur but usually last only 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Occasional locking of the joint or limited movement.
  • Pain that is often worse at night and may interfere with sleep.

Treatment includes rest, ice, medicines to reduce pain and swelling, gentle range-of-motion exercises, and sometimes corticosteroid injections. If the calcium deposits are large, affect movement, or are persistently painful, they can be removed surgically (debridement).

Current as of: June 4, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma