Is there a link between calcific deposits and shoulder pain?
This retrospective study examines the link between radiographically diagnosed rotator cuff calcification and subacromial pain syndrome (SAPS). They reported calcific deposits in 7.8% of asymptomatic subjects, compared to 42.5% of subjects with SAPS. Age between 30-60, female gender and subacromial pain were all significant predictors for the presence of calcific deposits.
Subacromial pain syndrome is an umbrella term which encompases many shoulder conditions. One of these, calcific tendonitis, is characterized by deposits of calcium hydroxyapatite within the rotator cuff and is normally visable on an X-Ray. It is unclear from previous research whether these deposits are strongly correlated with shoulder pain.
X-rays of 1219 adults with and without shoulder pain were reviewed over a 16 month period. Calcium deposits were found in 7.8% of asymtomatic subjects compared to 42.5% of symptomatic subjects. The supraspinatus was the most frequently affected tendon (82.7%) followed by the subscapularis (8.7%) and infraspinatus (8.4%) tendons.
This study shows that females aged between 30-60 with SAPS have a higher chance of suffering from symptomatic calcific tendonopathy. In this study calcifications are shown to be present in 7.8% of the population without non-traumatic shoulder pain.
> From: Louwerens et al., J Shoulder Elbow Surg (2015) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to 2015 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Click here for the Pubmed summary.