Exercise for Calcific Tendonitis in the Shoulder

Updated July 20, 2017

Shoulder calcific tendinitis occurs when calcium deposits form on the tendon in the rotator cuff. While there is little known about what causes the condition, it can be moderately to acutely painful, especially when the calcium is reabsorbed into the body. Doctors treat shoulder calcific tendinitis with anti-inflammatory medications or surgery, after which physical therapy exercises are applied to regain strength and flexibility in the affected areas.

Shoulder Calcific Tendonitis Symptoms and Treatments

Shoulder calcific tendinitis could be caused by a variety of reasons such as wear and tear on the shoulder, old age, lack of exercise or a combination of the three. If you are having problems lifting your arm, have chronic shoulder stiffness or chronic pain in your shoulder area, these may be indications of shoulder calcific tendinitis.

Visit your primary care physician and detail your symptoms so that the doctor can perform a full range of motion exercises to test for shoulder caclific tendinitis. If you doctor suspects there is shoulder calcific tendinitis, she will order an X-ray to verify that you have calcium deposits and identify the exact location of the calcium deposits.

From there your doctor will attempt to reduce the inflammation with a shot of cortisone and recommend a series of exercises to maintain your range of motion until the calcium deposits are reabsorbed and the shoulder calcific tendinitis is gone. In a worst-case scenario, your doctor may recommend surgically removing the calcium deposit depending on the location and size of the deposit.

Shoulder Tendonitis Exercises

Regardless of how your doctor treats the pain and inflammation, he will recommend shoulder tendinitis exercises that will improve your shoulder's range of motion and eliminate stiffness. When just starting with these exercises, do not use any weight until your doctor or physical therapist recommends it.

The first exercise involves getting your shoulder stretched and ready for harder exercises. Bend at the waist and allow your shoulder to hang limply. Keep your arm and shoulder relaxed and loose until you are ready to move them. Lift your shoulder straight upward toward your head with your hand hanging limp for a count of three, and then lower your arm for a six count. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

Start the second exercise by laying face down on a bed with your elbow (of the affected shoulder) at the edge, allowing your hand and forearm to be at a 90-degree angle along the side of the bed. With your elbow bent, raise your hand straight upward for a 10 count and then back down for a 10 count. Try to do this exercise for 10 repetitions and as many sets as you can before you feel any pain. If you experience pain, quit the exercise immediately.

Take recommendations from your doctor or therapist first before attempting any kind of shoulder rehabilitation at home.

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About the Author

Kenny Soward writes for various online publications, covering topics from physical fitness to religion. He has also published several short stories. Soward holds a B.A. in communications.