Calcium is a mineral within our bodies which is present in our blood and in many tissues including bone. Calcium sometimes settles from the blood stream into areas where is would not usually accumulate and cause problems. One such instance is a condition called acute calcific tendonitis where calcium settles within the rotator cuff tendons of your shoulder, most typically in an isolated area of the tendon. This causes the tendon to become inflamed, leads to impingement, and may cause considerable pain. The condition can come on rapidly or more gradually, and often causes extreme pain and considerable shoulder stiffness and dysfunction.
Painkilling medication and a sling may settle calcific tendonitis within a reasonable period, and no further treatment may be required. The condition is very painful, and many patients find that a subacromial space steroid injection is useful. It may also be possible to aspirate some of the calcium under ultrasound, or at least break up some of the calcium deposit. If symptoms are severe and do not respond to injection or continue long-term, then a subacromial decompression and removal of any calcium deposits identified at surgery may be of most benefit.