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Calcific Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

What is Calcific Rotator Cuff Disease?

  • Calcific tendinitis is due to hydroxyapatite (crystalline calcium phosphate) in the rotator cuff, causing pain and inflammation. No one knows what causes the calcifications to form, but calcifications are found in 5% of asymptomatic healthy adults.

How do you know if you have Calcific Rotator Cuff Disease?

  • While the calcium deposit is forming, you may only feel a mild to moderate pain, or no pain at all. The calcification can result in severe pain and cause you to lose motion in your shoulder, resulting in frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). Pain can be severe and lifting your arm may be painful.
  • An X-ray will usually confirm the presence of calcium deposits.



  • The goal of treatment is to control pain
  • Common treatments include medications, physical therapy and cortisone injections.
  • In the past, when traditional non-operative treatments failed, surgery was the only option recommended to patients. Now, we are able to offer less invasive treatment options to remove the calcium deposits while at the same time stimulating healing in the surrounding rotator cuff tendons.

Percutaneous Needle Tenotomy (TENEX)

  • Percutaneous ultrasonic needle tenotomy (Tenex) can help remove the calcium deposit by inserting a needle into the calcium deposit and rinsing the calcium away with sterile saline. Learn more about TENEX here.