Calcific Tendonitis

This is a condition whereby a lump of bone develops within the inner tendons of the shoulder. It can be present without presenting any symptoms whatsoever, or it can cause extreme pain and difficulty in moving the arm in certain positions.  The reason why bone is formed in the tendon is not completely understood, but it is probably as a result of irritation of the tendons.  It can be diagnosed via a specialist shoulder examination and x-ray.

The condition is usually treated by a specialist shoulder radiologist who will try and break down the bone within the tendon using a needle and water pressure.  This technique is performed as an out-patient appointment under local anaesthetic and is called a ‘barbotage’(click to read more about barbotage).  There is a high chance that this will resolve the problem and eliminate the pain. Occasionally the pain returns and a second course of ‘barbotage’ is required.  In rare cases, the pain can return after a second ‘barbotage’ and may require surgery.