Calcific tendinitis refers specifically to calcium deposits within the tendons around the shoulder. They typically form within the rotator cuff but can also form in the long head of the bicep tendon and other tendons. The underlying cause of the calcium is unknown, although some people have a history of trauma. Often individuals will feel that they slept on their shoulder wrong.
The symptoms are similar to bursitis though many people will have a sense of catching as they rotate their arm. Symptoms are worse during the formation and resorption phases.
An x-ray may be used to identify the size and location of the deposit, but an ultrasound may better catch details that an x-ray could miss.
The severity of the deposit is divided into three phases:
There is no clear evidence to support what causes calcific tendinitis, so it is unclear whether it is possible to prevent. It is more common in patients with diabetes and people over age 30.