A calcium 'abscess' can form in the rotator cuff. This can cause severe pain and ranks with frozen shoulder as one of the most painful shoulder conditions.
The pain is caused by a chemical irritation and the build-up of pressure in the tendon.
Calcific tendonitis has three phases: formative, calcifying and restoration. It is usually in the last two phases that it causes pain.
We do not know why it forms and men and women between the ages of 30 and 60 are commonly affected.
It will clear up on its own, but this can take between eight and 10 years. This is why when patients are in severe pain it can be removed. There are two types of procedures to remove the calcium. The one is a needling procedure which can be done in the consultation room or under concious sedation. This is where needles are placed in the calcium deposit and flushed out with sterile saline solution, under ultrasound guidance. The second procedure is arthroscopic (keyhole surgery) removal. This is a very successful method to clean out the calcium deposit.
30% of patients who has a calcium deposit can develop a frozen shoulder. This makes this a challenging condition to treat.