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Calcific tendonitis (shoulder)

Restoring shoulder mobility

Once the diagnosis is made, several treatment strategies are available, such as a trial of anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, shoulder injections, shockwave therapy and lastly, arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery to remove the calcium deposit. A trial of conservative (non-surgical) treatment is usually first carried out to relieve pain and improve function. Nevertheless, if the pain caused by the calcium deposit has been resistant to this approach, keyhole surgery can be carried out with excellent results.

Pain management and physiotherapy

In combination with pain medication or anti-inflammatory injections, physical therapy can be a very effective way of treating your calcific tendonitis. As soon as the pain subsides, you are able to begin exercises to reduce the pressure on the affected tendon. Daily self-directed exercise programmes are very helpful.

Treatment of your calcific tendonitis with shockwave therapies

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is one method of shockwave therapy which involves delivering mechanical shocks to the area of the calcific build-up. During this therapy, the calcific deposits are broken open by the shockwaves. The shocks can be painful, but the higher the frequency, the more effective the shocks are at breaking up the deposits. Your specialist will be able to adjust the level of frequency to ensure the pain level is tolerable. Many of our patients describe this treatment method as very effective.

Therapeutic ultrasound is another method which uses soundwaves to break up the deposits. Radial shockwave therapy is very similar to ESWT but delivers low to medium level shocks to the affected area. Your specialist will go through the most appropriate options with you to formulate a plan for the best outcome.

Non-surgical methods to treat of your calcific tendonitis

  • Pain management and physiotherapy
  • Treatment of your calcific tendonitis with shockwave therapies

Calcific tendonitis surgery

Surgery for calcific tendonitis can be carried out arthroscopically, during a minimally invasive procedure, or during an open surgery. Both procedures involve removing the deposit plus or minus shaving away part of the acromion bone (subacromial decompression) to give the tendon(s) more space to function. If other accompanying pathology is seen during the shoulder procedure (such as rotator cuff tears), this will be addressed by your surgeon and may change post-operative aftercare (i.e. recovery time, period of immobilisation, etc.).

Surgical treatment methods

  • Calcific tendonitis surgery