What Causes Calcium Build Up In The Body – Calcific tendonitis of the shoulder occurs when calcium deposits form in the tendons of your shoulder. The tissue around the deposit can become inflamed, causing a great deal of shoulder pain. This condition is quite common although the cause is unknown and is not related to injury, diet or osteoporosis. As well as pressure caused by calcium build up, the deposit reduces the space between the acromion and the rotator cuff leading to impingement (pinching of the tendons). Calcific tendonitis most often affects people over the age of 40.
As part of the aging process, blood flow to the tendons of the rotator cuff decreases. This makes the veins weak. Due to wear and tear when we use our shoulders, the tendon fibers begin to fray and tear, like a worn-out rope. Calcium deposits form in damaged tendons as part of the healing process.
- 1 What Causes Calcium Build Up In The Body
- 2 Calcium Deposits In Skin: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments
- 3 Hypercalcemia: High Calcium Levels And What To Do
- 4 How To Reduce Calcium Buildup In Your Joints
- 5 Have A High Calcium Score? Here’s What To Do
What Causes Calcium Build Up In The Body
Why that happened is unclear. It does not appear to be associated with degeneration, although it is more likely to cause shoulder pain than degenerative calcification. Doctors think of reactive calcification in three stages.
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When calcium is deposited, you may have only mild to moderate pain or possibly no pain at all. For some unknown reason, calcific tendonitis becomes very painful as the deposits are reabsorbed, often constant and nagging. Sometimes the pain travels down the arm to the arm and is aggravated by lifting your arm. The pain and stiffness from calcific tendonitis can cause you to lose motion in your shoulder. At worst, the pain can disrupt your sleep.
Your surgeon will take a complete medical history and will perform a thorough physical examination of the shoulder. An x-ray will usually confirm the presence of calcium deposits and will also help to pinpoint the exact location. Multiple x-rays may be needed over time to help the surgeon track calcium changes and determine if surgery is needed.
The main goal will be to reduce pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint. In addition to resting from the joint, the following options can be recommended:
If loss of movement and pain continue to interfere with daily activities, your surgeon may recommend surgery. An arthroscopy (key hole surgery) is performed where a small incision is made in the vein and the calcium is removed. Care is taken to ensure that the calcium has been removed by doing an x-ray at the end of the procedure. In very rare circumstances, open surgery may be required.
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Rehabilitation after shoulder surgery can be a slow process. It is very important that you start moving and exercising your arms after your procedure, unless otherwise stated. The physiotherapist will provide a program of strengthening and stretching exercises for you to do at home.
Even if you do not need surgery, your surgeon may recommend that you attend physiotherapy sessions for 4 to 6 weeks. Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles can actually reduce the pressure on calcium deposits in the veins.
Patient information sheets are intended to provide general information only and are not a substitute for medical advice regarding your specific condition. Calcific tendonitis is a condition caused by calcium deposits in a person’s muscles or tendons. If calcium accumulates in one area, a person can feel pain and discomfort there.
The area for calcific tendonitis to develop is the rotator cuff. This is a group of muscles and tendons that provide strength and stability to the upper arms and shoulders.
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Although medication or physical therapy, or a combination of the two, can usually treat the condition successfully, surgery may be necessary in some cases.
In this article, we look at how to identify calcific tendonitis and what causes it, along with information about treatment and recovery.
If a person has calcific tendonitis, they are likely to experience pain in the shoulder and lower arm.
Pain from calcific tendonitis is usually concentrated in the front or back of a person’s shoulder and down the arm.
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Some people may experience severe symptoms. They may not be able to move their arms, and the pain may disturb sleep.
As calcium deposits build up gradually, the pain a person feels can come on suddenly or increase slowly and gradually.
In adults between 40 and 60 years old, with women more likely to experience the condition than men.
If a person’s shoulder pain or discomfort goes away, the doctor should check it out. At the appointment, the doctor will ask about a person’s symptoms and medical history.
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The doctor will perform a physical examination of the affected area to see if the range of motion has changed and how severe the pain is.
A doctor who suspects calcific tendonitis will usually order an imaging test, which will reveal any calcium deposits or other abnormalities in the joint.
X-rays can help identify large calcium deposits. An ultrasound scan can reveal any small deposits that the X-ray may have missed.
Common medications prescribed to treat the condition include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are also available over the counter.
Calcific Tendinopathy Of The Shoulder
ESWT involves a small handheld device that delivers mechanical shocks to a person’s shoulder, near where calcium deposits have built up. This shock can break up the deposit.
The higher the frequency of these shocks, the more effective they are. Shocks can be painful, and doctors can adjust the level to make sure a person can tolerate it.
This procedure is very similar to ESWT and involves a handheld device that will deliver low- to medium-energy shocks to the shoulder where calcium has built up.
During ultrasound therapy, the doctor will use a handheld device that directs high-frequency sound waves where the deposit has been built up to break it. This procedure is usually painless.
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During this procedure, the doctor first administers a local anesthetic to the affected area before using a needle to make a hole in the skin.
The doctor will then remove the calcium deposits through this hole, usually by using an ultrasound to guide them to the right place.
Most people can expect their calcific tendonitis to be successfully treated without the need for surgery. However, around
Open surgery involves the doctor making an incision in the skin with a scalpel. They can then manually remove the deposit through the incision.
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Arthroscopic surgery involves the doctor making an incision where they will insert a small camera. The camera helps to guide the doctor to the place where the deposit has built up so that they can remove it more accurately.
Physical therapy is recommended for people with moderate or more severe conditions. The focus is on performing gentle exercises to relieve discomfort and help restore full range of motion.
Some people find they have recovered within a week. Others may continue to experience pain and discomfort that limits their movement and activities.
If surgery is necessary, the recovery time will depend on the amount, location, and size of the calcium deposits, and the type of surgery. Open surgery has a longer recovery time than arthroscopic surgery.
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Doctors may recommend that the individual wear a sling for a few days after surgery to help support the shoulder if it is affected.
Physical therapy can also take longer after open surgery, and a person can expect about 6 to 8 weeks of physical therapy. After arthroscopic surgery, improvement in discomfort and movement can be felt after 2 to 3 weeks.
Calcific tendonitis can cause pain and discomfort and limit a person’s range of motion, although some people do not experience any symptoms.
Most cases are treated with pain medication and quick, simple procedures that can be performed in a doctor’s office. More severe cases may require surgery followed by physical therapy.
How To Reduce Calcium Buildup In Your Joints
Calcific tendonitis can disappear on its own without any treatment. Ignoring the situation is not recommended, however, because it can lead to complications, such as rotator cuff tears and frozen shoulder.
Once calcific tendonitis goes away, there is no evidence to suggest that it will return. But people should be aware of the situation and report any new onset of pain to the doctor.
Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We do not use tertiary references. We link primary sources – including studies, scientific references, and statistics – in each article and list them in the resources section below our article. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP – By Marjorie Hecht – Updated June 26, 2018
Calcinosis cutis is the accumulation of calcium salt crystals in your skin. Calcium deposits are hard bumps that do not dissolve. The shape and size of the lesions vary.
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This is a rare condition that has many different causes. These range from infections and injuries to systemic diseases like kidney failure.
Often calcinosis cutis has no symptoms. But in some cases, it can be very painful.
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