A new study published within the Arthroscopy journal, has revealed calcific tendonitis in the shoulder could predict a rotator cuff tear. Researchers were trying to determine whether calcific tendonitis could protect the shoulder from a rotator cuff tear, or whether it was an indicator of the condition.
Here, we’ll look at what the latest study revealed and the link between calcific tendonitis rotator cuff tears.
The results of the study
The new study analysed 318 shoulders which had calcific tendonitis. Researchers looked at the charts of the patients from a single clinic dating from January 2010 to April 2017.
MRI and anteroposterior radiographic studies were reviewed by a radiologist. They looked for the size, morphology and the distance calcific tendonitis was away from the rotator cuff insertion. They also looked for any signs of a rotator cuff tear. A second radiologist then confirmed the results.
It was discovered that 56% of calcific tendonitis cases in the shoulder also had a rotator cuff tear. Out of the 177 rotator cuff tears, 164 of them were partial thickness tears, while 13 were total thickness tears. It was determined that rotator cuff tears associated with calcific tendonitis had an odds ratio of 1.8.
What is calcific tendonitis?
Calcific tendonitis is the build-up of hydroxyapatite on the tendons surrounding the rotator cuff. It tends to be much more common in women than it does men and tends to affect those aged between 30 and 60 years of age.
The condition can cause intense pain around the shoulder which can either be long-lasting or intermittent. This is caused by the body’s inflammatory response to the reabsorption of calcification. The cause of the condition isn’t known, though there is an increased risk for those who have Diabetes and thyroid gland dysfunction.
Sometimes, the condition can cause it to feel like the shoulder is catching. This is a very similar sign of shoulder impingement, making it sometimes difficult to diagnose first time around.
Understanding rotator cuff tears
Out of all shoulder injuries, rotator cuff tears are the most common. It can have a significant impact on your daily life and prove to be extremely painful. They are largely caused by degeneration of the tendon and muscles associated with age. However, they can also occur due to injury caused by an accident or trauma.
Signs of a rotator cuff tear include a stabbing or dragging pain within the shoulder. The pain tends to worsen at night, making it difficult for the patient to sleep. Moving the arm to the side or forwards will be extremely difficult and it will have a significant impact on the quality of life.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain, it is important to get the problem looked at as soon as possible. The longer a shoulder injury is left untreated, the worse it becomes. If you suspect you may have calcific tendonitis or a rotator cuff tear, book a consultation with a shoulder specialist to receive an accurate diagnosis.
During the current COVID-19 crisis, all non-urgent / elective surgery bookings and appointments are postponed, but the London Shoulder Specialists are still available for consultation.
Consultations can be carried out either by telephone or video link.