Calcific tendinopathy is a condition characterized by the formation of calcium deposits within a tendon that can lead to pain and limited joint mobility. This condition commonly affects the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder. However, it may occur in other tendons.
The exact cause of calcific tendinopathy is not well understood. Still, it is believed to be a result of a combination of factors, including genetics, metabolic imbalances, and mechanical stress on the affected tendon. Calcium deposits gradually build up within the tendon. These deposits can be of different types, including amorphous, granular, and dense, and they can vary in size. These deposits can disrupt the normal structure and function of the tendon.
One of the most common symptoms of calcific tendinopathy is pain, which may range from mild to severe. Patients may experience a reduced range of motion in the affected joint, such as the shoulder. Weakness in the affected limb may occur due to pain and reduced function. Tenderness and stiffness around the affected tendon are also common.
Other Treatments for Calcific tendinopathy
Reducing or modifying activities that exacerbate the symptoms can help. Targeted exercises can improve strength and flexibility. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage pain and inflammation. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
ESWT is a procedure that uses shockwaves to break up calcifications. In rare cases, when conservative treatments fail, surgery may be considered to remove the calcium deposits or repair the tendon.
Saline Injection – A Widely used Treatment for Calcific Tendinopathy
Sodium chloride (NaCI) is a widely used treatment for calcific tendinopathy. It is a painful and common condition. Such treatment is often called “needling” also. Saline injection therapy is generally considered an effective and safe treatment for calcific tendinopathy especially when conservative measures such as pain medications, rest, and pain medications do not provide sufficient relief. Saline injection therapy involves following a few steps. Before the injection, the physician will use imaging techniques such as ultrasound or X-ray to precisely locate the calcifications within the affected tendon.
A saline injection treatment provides no meaningful advantage over a placebo, concludes a trial in a trial published in the BMJ. The results reveal that benefits from ultrasound-guided lavage along with a steroid injection are no longer better than sham placebo) treatment.
Ultrasound-guided lavage has never been compared with sham treatment, in spite of its widespread use. Hence, it is not clear whether reported improvements are because of the treatment itself, natural recovery over time, or a placebo effect.
Researchers in Norway and Sweden carried out the first sham-controlled trial to test the true effect of ultrasound-guided lavage with steroid injection for patients with calcific tendinopathy of the shoulder to fill this important evidence gap.
A Look at Comprehensive Study of New Findings
Future studies must investigate alternative treatment options including defined physiotherapy programs and must include a no-treatment group to assess the influence of the natural course of calcific tendinopathy on the results, they add. In a linked editorial, US researchers say lavage seems to be overused and may not be as effective as thought.
The treatment of calcific tendinopathy is tailored to the condition and needs of the individual. Physical therapy, medication, and rest are conservative measures effective for mild cases. Regular follow-up with a healthcare provider and Lifestyle modifications are vital components of the treatment plan.