Calcific tendinopathy of the shoulder: clinical perspectives into the mechanisms, pathogenesis, and treatment

Orthop Res Rev. 2018 Oct 3:10:63-72. doi: 10.2147/ORR.S138225. eCollection 2018.


Calcific tendinopathy (CT) of the shoulder is a common, painful condition characterized by the presence of calcium deposits in the rotator cuff tendons. Current theories indicate that CT may be the result of a cell-mediated process in which, after a stage of calcium deposition, calcifications are spontaneously resorbed. However, in a minority of cases, this self-healing process is somehow disrupted, resulting in symptoms. Recent literature shows an emerging role of biological and genetic factors underlying CT. This new evidence could supplement the classic mechanical theory of rotator cuff tendinopathy complicated by calcium precipitation, and it may also explain why the majority of the therapies currently in use are only able to provide partially satisfactory outcomes. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge about the pathological processes underlying CT of the shoulder and thereby justify the quest for advanced biological treatments of this condition when it becomes symptomatic.

Keywords: calcific deposits; calcific tendinopathy; review; rotator cuff tendons; shoulder; tendinitis.

Publication types

  • Review