Treating calcific tendonitis

One potential cause of shoulder pain is calcific tendonitis and it occurs as a result of calcium deposits building up in your shoulder tendons. It can develop anywhere in your body but most often affects the rotator cuffs. Read on to learn more about symptoms of calcific tendonitis and how shockwave therapy in Twickenham can help. 

Please bear in mind that although the information and tips in this blog are helpful when dealing with calcific tendonitis, for specific advice and guidance, please contact a physiotherapist for a professional assessment.

What is calcific tendonitis? 

As we mentioned, calcific tendonitis is a buildup of calcium deposits, most often in the rotator cuff tendon. This can lead to significant pain, often over the top of your shoulder and radiating down your arm, which can consequently restrict shoulder movement. 

The rotator cuff tendon is the group of tendons wrapped around the ball of the shoulder joint. When affected by calcific tendonitis, you may, therefore, have trouble raising or rotating your arm. Although the condition can get better on its own with time, treatment such as physiotherapy or shockwave therapy, can help reduce pain and quicken rehabilitation of your shoulder — guidelines from The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) supports shockwave therapy.

Who is at risk?

The exact cause of calcium build-up in calcific tendonitis isn’t known but it may be associated with other calcium-related conditions, such as gallstones. 

Women are more likely to be affected than men and age also plays a role, with people aged 40–60 more likely to develop the condition. 

Lifestyle factors also play a role. If you play sports such as tennis or basketball, or other activities that involve regular overhead motions, you are more likely to develop calcific tendonitis. 

Symptoms of calcific tendonitis 

If you have calcific tendonitis, you will notice a persistent pain in your shoulder. For some people, pain may be moderate while for others, it may be severe enough to interfere with sleep. Other signs include limited mobility, such as being unable to properly lift up your arms or move your arms in a circular motion.

What treatment options are available? 


Physiotherapy can significantly help manage your pain and strengthen your shoulder muscles. Our expert physiotherapists will recommend simple exercises that are designed to help prevent your shoulder from stiffening while reducing pain. Although physiotherapy is not an overnight solution, it can help you recover movement as quickly as possible. 

Shockwave therapy

Shockwave therapy is a safe, effective and non-invasive procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to encourage tissue regeneration. Using a handheld device, we’ll deliver sound waves to the affected part of the shoulder. When combined with appropriate shoulder rehabilitation exercises, shockwave therapy can support your journey to recovery. 


Inactivity can do more harm than good. That’s why maintaining movement with shoulder-specific exercises is an important part of rehabilitation. Even general exercise, such as swimming, cycling and walking, can help improve the function of your shoulder. 

It is important to note that exercises should always be comfortable. 


Taking painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen can help ease the pain associated with calcific tendonitis. Take care to follow the recommended dosage or see your GP.


The majority of people diagnosed with calcific tendonitis will not require surgery. It is a last resort for those who are unable to find relief using alternative methods. During surgery, your surgeon will manually remove the calcium deposits.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information on the benefits of shockwave therapy or how it works, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly staff is here to answer any questions. You can give us a call on 020 8898 1231.