Calcification: Symptoms, Types and Causes


When the calcium builds up in places where it does not usually appear like the arteries on your brain, then this condition is known as calcification. The management of this condition depends on the cause, location and whether any complications have occurred. This condition can be caused by autoimmune disorders, infection and injury. What is important for you to know is that this condition is not caused by calcium – rich diet. Calcific tendinopathy is also known as calcific tendinitis happens when the calcium builds up in the tendons. This condition is most common in the shoulders. But also it can occur in the feet, knees, hips, hands, wrists and elbows. This buildup can harden and disrupt the normal processes in your body. We know that the calcium is transported through the bloodstream. Also this element is found in every cell. As a result, calcification can occur almost in every part of your body. People who are between 30 and 50 years old are most affected by calcific tendinopathy [1]. Women are having more chances of getting this disease compared to men. This is not a normally a sports – related problem. There are some studies in which is said that about 99% of your body’s calcium is in your bones and teeth. The other 1% is in the fluid outside the cells, muscles, blood and other body tissues. There are some disorders which can cause calcium to deposit in places where it does not typically belong. Over time, this can add and cause problems in your body. If you have this extra calcium buildup, then you may need treatment to prevent complications. [2]

What are the symptoms? We know that the calcium tendinitis is starting up with a buildup of calcium which causes a chemical reaction with other tissues in the tendon to cause pain. When it is in shoulder, then the calcium is most often built up inside the rotator cuff. Symptoms may include stiffness and pain which often comes back but this symptom usually last one to two months. This condition is often worse at night and many people find problems with their sleeping. Your doctor will ask you questions about your past health and your symptoms. He or she will make a physical exam. Also he or she can make an X – ray to look for calcium deposits. A MRI or an ultrasound of the affected area also can be done. After these exams, your doctor will tell you which is the best natural treatment or how to get rid of calcium deposits in shoulders. You should never take medicines on your own.

Types of calcification

Calcification can form in many places throughout our bodies which are including:

  • Kidney, bladder and gallbladder
  • Soft tissues like breasts, muscles and fat
  • Joints and tendons such as knee joints and rotator cuff tendons
  • Brain, where it is known as cranial calcification
  • Heart valves
  • Small and large arteries


There are some calcium buildups which are harmless. It is believed that these deposits are body’s response to certain biological processes, injury or inflammation. But also there are some calcifications which can disrupt organ function and they can affect blood vessels. There was one study in which is said that most adults greater than 60 years old are having calcium deposits in their blood vessels. [3]

Causes of calcification

There are many factors which can lead to calcification such as

  • Persistent inflammation
  • Genetic or autoimmune disorders affecting your skeletal system and connective tissues
  • Calcium metabolism disorders that cause hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood)
  • Infections [4]

According to Harvard University, a common misconception is that these conditions are caused by a diet which is rich in calcium [2]. But there should be done a lot more studies in the feature because studies have not found a link between dietary calcium and a higher risk for calcium deposits. This saying is also true for kidney stones. We know that most kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate. People who have calcium oxalate stones are releasing more calcium in their urine compared to people who do not have calcium oxalate stones. This disorder is happening no matter how much calcium people have in their diets. [5]


[1] Merolla G, Singh S, Paladini P, Porcellini G. Calcific tendinitis of the rotator cuff: state of the art in diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology. 2016;17:7–14.

[2] Harvard T.H. Chan. Calcium. The Nutrition Source. Retrieved from

[3] Demer LL, Tintut Y. Vascular calcification: Pathobiology of a multifaceted disease. Circulation. 2008;117:2938–48.

[4] Oliveira JRM, Oliveira MF. Primary brain calcification in patients undergoing treatment with the biphosphanate alendronate. Scientific Reports. 2016.

[5] National Kidney Foundation. Calcium oxalate stones. Retrieved from


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