Dr. Kevin Yip

Dr Kevin Yip
Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS(UK), FRCS(EDIN), FAM(SING), FHKCOS(ORTHO)

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Calcific Tendinitis

The degenerative changes that occur in the supraspinatus tendons as part of the aging process can, in combination with exertion, cause chronic inflammation with deposits of calcium. This can occur in athletes as young as 30–35 years. The calcium deposits can rupture into the bursa overlying the supraspinatus tendon; this brings about a temporary improvement of the condition but may then cause bursitis. Alternatively, the deposits can disappear spontaneously 2–3 weeks after formation, or simply remain without causing any symptoms.

Symptoms and diagnosis

– Intense pain can begin suddenly in the anterior upper part of the shoulder. It can be so severe that it prevents sleep. It can at least partially be relieved by holding the arm still against the body.
– Because of the intense pain, a doctor is often consulted early. The doctor will detect a distinct tenderness over the anterior upper part of the shoulder, and X-rays will confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

The athlete should:
– maintain range of motion after the acute phase to avoid stiffness;
– take a pain-relieving preparation.

The doctor may:
– puncture and aspirate the calcium deposit;
– administer a local anesthetic and steroid injection;
– prescribe an analgesic preparation;
– advise flexibility exercises;
– if the pain is persistent, operate in order to remove the calcium deposit.

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