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Calcific Tendonitis

This video shows 'snowstorm' calcium being released. A more common type is 'toothpaste' where the material is a thick paste rather than the chalky substance seen here.


Calcific tendonitis refers to deposits of calcium (a crystalline calcium phosphate) in any tendon of the body, but most commonly this is seen in the tendons of the rotator cuff, especially the supraspinatus. This can cause intense pain in the shoulder due to a pressure build up as well as chemical irritation.


Clinical features can be similar to impingement or frozen shoulder, and definitive diagnosis is made by X rays and/or scans


  1. Ultrasound guided needle (barbotage) - a needle is introduced into the calcium repeatedly to break up the mass. The area is throughly washed with saline.
  2. Surgery - Performed through arthroscopic techniques, this is usually very successful in releasing the calcium and relieving pain