Calcific tendonitis

Hydroxyapatite deposition disease (HADD) is a condition characterised by calcium deposits in the shoulder that causes pain and inflammation.

Enquiries & Appointments

Shoulder imagery

What is calcific tendonitis?

Calcific tendonitis occurs in the tendons of the rotator cuff. The condition occurs when calcium deposits form on the tendons of your shoulder. The tissue around the deposits can become inflamed, causing significant shoulder pain. This condition is fairly common and mostly affects people over the age of 40.

Need to know

Symptoms change depending on the stage at which you are at in the development of the condition. These might include:

  • mild to moderate pain while the calcium is being deposited
  • significant pain when the deposits are reabsorbed into the tendons of your shoulder
  • stiffness in the shoulder and difficulty raising your arm
  • interrupted sleep as a consequence of the pain

Your consultant will take your medical history and conduct a physical examination of your shoulder. Imaging tests may be required to confirm calcific tendonitis . These might include:

  • X-rays to identify the exact location of any calcium deposits in your shoulder
  • an ultrasound scan to identify the presence of calcium deposits
  • Your consultant may need to take multiple X-rays over a period of time to check the development of the condition and determine whether surgery is necessary.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication for mild to moderate pain. If the pain is acute your consultant may recommend a steroid injection (cortisone). Resting the arm and shoulder is also advised.
  • Shockwave therapy. This involves using high energy sound or pressure waves, which can alter the pain while the deposits are reabsorbed. -
  • Barbotage. This involves removing a deposit by sucking it into a syringe with ultrasound guidance. You may also need surgery, usually arthroscopy. A small incision is made in the shoulder, before a tiny camera and surgical instrument is inserted to remove the deposits. This is more likely with large deposits that have damaged the rotator cuff tendons.

Our Calcific tendonitis locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.