Calcific Tendonitis of the Shoulder Treatment

Calcific tendonitis (or tendinopathy) of the shoulder is a painful condition where calcium deposits form inside the tendons.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, our treatment of calcific tendonitis aims to:

What is calcific tendonitis of the shoulder?

The shoulder has what’s known as a rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles, which via the tendons attach to the shoulder. Calcific tendinopathy develops as a result of calcific deposits on or around the tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff. These deposits put pressure on the tendons, reducing the space they have to move, and can lead to inflammation and impingement (pinching of the tendons).

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What are the types and causes?

There are two types of calcific tendonitis of the shoulder:

  • Degenerative calcification – as we age, blood flow to the rotator cuff decreases, weakening the tendons.  Fraying or tearing can occur through normal movement, resulting in calcium deposits in the attempt to repair the tendon.
  • Reactive calcification – the exact cause is unknown, however there are three stages which occur:
    1. Pre-calcific – painful movement and decreases range of movement
    2. Calcific – calcium is releases which form deposits, later being reabsorbed by the body which causes most of the pain and discomfort
    3. Post-calcific – the tendon heals and is replaced with healthy tissue

This reactive calcification is fairly common between the age of 40 and 60, though is mostly unrelated to injury, trauma or other degenerative conditions like osteoporosis. There is emerging research investigating the link between calcific tendinopathy in the shoulder to thyroid issues, diabetes and possible genetic predispositions.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain varies, depending on calcific stage
    • Mild to moderate, or none at all in the pre-calcific stage
    • Constant/nagging pain during calcific/re-absorption stage
  • Stiffness/inability to move the arm or shoulder
  • Tenderness of rotator cuff
  • Reduced range of movement
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Swelling and bruising
Reducing Muscle Tension

Treatment for calcific tendonitis

If you suspect you have a calcific tendinopathy in your shoulder, it is important to see a medical professional. You will likely be referred for an Ultrasound or X-ray to determine the extent of the condition.


Physical therapy is highly beneficial in reducing pain and inflammation. At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a unique treatment plan to aid in your recovery through:

  • Stretching, strengthening and/or conditioning exercises
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Soft tissue mobilisations (massage)
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • A unique home exercise program
  • Graded Exposure to load program

If the pain and reduced movement is severe, driving and strenuous activity should be avoided. Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use neck support or a suitable pillow.

How to book an appointment?

If you have a calcific tendinopathy in your shoulder, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.


Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by calcific tendinopathy of the shoulder? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

Contact us for more information on treatment

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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