Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Sasha Wolff
Calcium deposits are small build-ups of calcium that start out very soft and harden over many years to a dry, chalk-like substance. In some cases, they turn into bone. Some calcium deposits may never cause a problem. Depending on the location, calcium deposits may lead to serious disease. Muscle pain can occur when the deposit becomes very large, when it ruptures, causes inflammation or when it occurs in an area that interferes with movement.
What Causes Deposits?
There are many theories concerning the causes of calcium deposits. In many ways, the exact cause remains a mystery. A diet that is deficient in vitamin K or magnesium may lead to deposits. Some theorise that it may be due to vitamin D and calcium deficiencies, according to the Connective Tissue Disorders website. When a person does not get enough calcium by way of diet or supplements, the body will take calcium from the bones. Although the body needs 98 per cent of calcium for healthy bone formation and teeth, it needs the remaining 2 per cent for circulation, digestion and cell division. A lack of exercise may also lead to the formation of calcium deposits.
Calcium deposits can be caused by a bone injury. When a bone is injured, the body sends extra calcium to the region for repair. If there is a calcium deficiency in the body, the extra calcium may build up in the area of the damage.
Where do Calcium Deposits Occur?
Calcium deposits around the shoulder area are fairly common according to the southern California Orthopedic Institute. They can occur in the tips of fingers and the thumbs or anywhere else in the body.
Prevalence and Seriousness
Women between the ages of 35 and 65 are the most likely to get calcium deposits. However, they can also occur in males, too. Most calcium deposits are relatively harmless; however, some can be very serious. If they form in the wrong place, they can interfere with the body's natural functioning. They may also contribute to heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases, according to fitday.com.
Calcium Deposits and Muscle Pain
Calcium deposits do not cause a problem unless they increase in size or become inflamed. When this happens, the pain can be severe. As the deposit grows it can pinch tendons or nerves, which causes muscle pain. Muscle pain may also occur when the deposit grows to the point that it interferes with the natural range of motion, such as lifting of the arm.
The treatment method varies depending on the location of the calcium deposit. If it is in the shoulder area, treatment involves resting the arm in a sling and soothing the pain and inflammation with ice packs. The doctor may give a cortisone injection or prescribe anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, large and reoccurring calcium deposits may require removal by arthroscopic surgery.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Sasha Wolff