Rotator cuff tendinitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Rotator cuff tendinitis (also called calcific tendinitis) is a inflammatory disease of the tendons forming the rotator cuff of the shoulder.

Symptoms include

shoulder pain
  • limitation of movement
  • pain is increased by active use of the shoulder
  • Natural history of the disease has three stages.

    Precalcific is the first stage.

    • there are no symptoms at this stage
    • X rays if taken at this stage will be normal
    • Microscopically the tendon at this stage undergoes metaplasia (collagen in the tendon changes into fibrocartilaginous tissue)

    Calcific is the second stage.

    • calcium deposition in the tendon begins
    • mild pain is present
    • x rays will show well defined calcium deposits
    • this is followed by absorption of the calcium deposits
    • pain increases significantly
    • now X rays show hazy calcium deposits
    • most patients consult the doctor at this stage
    • microscopically the calcium is absorbed and granulation tissue takes its place

    Postcalcific is the third stage.

    • pain subsides and x rays are normal
    • granulation tissue is replaced by mature collagen fibres

    Treatment includes

    • pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs
    • heat applied to the shoulder
    • exercises of the shoulder
    • injections of steroid at the site of pain

    When patients do not respond to the above treatment methods, then surgery is undertaken. In surgery the calcific deposits are removed, either by needling or by excision through a small incision.

    I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query you can ask me at the contact me page.

    This page was last updated on 1st April 2009.

    Other causes of shoulder pain...

    Subacromial Bursitis

    Adhesive Capsulitis

    Bicipital Tendinitis

    Shoulder Dislocation

    Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation

    Shoulder Fracture

    Go back from Rotator cuff tendinitis to Shoulder Pain


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