The calcified shoulder is a common cause of shoulder problems. It mainly occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and women are particularly affected. It is estimated that every tenth German citizen has calcium deposits in a shoulder tendon, which are by no means always painful. If pain occurs, it is usually sudden and without previous stress. Typically, there are strong movement-dependent complaints – especially with overhead movements, but also at rest at night.
Tendons run through the shoulder joint. They run in a narrow space between the acromion and the humeral head. For reasons that are still unclear, the body sometimes converts tendon cells into cartilage cells and stores calcium salts (formation phase). Diabetes patients appear to be at increased risk of this phenomenon.
The lime deposit process can last for years and can also be idle for a long time in between. At some point, the calcium crystals will dissolve again and be broken down (resorption phase). As a result of the remodeling processes, the tendons often thicken, which causes discomfort. The symptoms are aggravated by muscular imbalances, i.e. when there is a disproportion in the strength of the muscles surrounding the shoulder, causing the tendon to rub against the acromion. It is not uncommon for strength athletes who train primarily for optics to pull up the humeral head and pinch the supraspinatus muscle in the acromion.
In the worst case, the calcium deposits can break open and get into the shoulder bursa. This often results in a particularly painful acute inflammatory reaction.
The signs vary depending on the exact location of the lime deposit. There is often pain in the outer front shoulder area, which radiates into the orber arm or even to the wrist. The symptoms rarely occur during the calcium deposits, they usually arise when the calcium deposits dissolve and, above all, when calcium penetrates into the bursa. The pain worsens at night when lying on the affected shoulder and when raising the arm above shoulder height. In the acute phase, the arm may not be able to be raised at all.