What is calcification?

Calcification causes considerable shoulder pain. It occurs when there is a build-up of calcium in the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff works to stabalise the humeral head in the shoulder socket. When calcium accumulates in one of the tendons, the rotator cuff is not able to function normally. The calcium deposits trigger inflammation, and can also lead to impingement.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of calcification include:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Difficulty in moving the shoulder
  • Arm pain
  • Hand pain

Some non-surgical treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Physiotherapy
  • Rest
  • Cortisone injections
  • Use of the Tenex machine

If the pain continues, surgery in the form of an arthroscopic cleanup of the calcification can also give very good results. This procedure works by increasing the space between the acromion and the rotator cuff tendons, lessoning inflammation and shoulder pain.


Dr Gabriel Pirjol is based at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban and also consults and operates from Gateway Hospital in Umhlanga, Westville Hospital and Malvern Medicross.


Telephone : +27 31 202 5463

Email :

Address : Suite 24 Chelmsford Medical Centre
St Augustine's Hospital
107 J B Marks Road
Berea, 4001