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Open Access Review

Physiopathology of intratendinous calcific deposition

Francesco Oliva1, Alessio Giai Via1 and Nicola Maffulli2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata' School of Medicine, Viale Oxford 81, Rome, Italy

2 Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Mile End Hospital, 275 Bancroft Road, London, E1 4DG, UK

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BMC Medicine 2012, 10:95  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-95

Published: 23 August 2012


In calcific tendinopathy (CT), calcium deposits in the substance of the tendon, with chronic activity-related pain, tenderness, localized edema and various degrees of decreased range of motion. CT is particularly common in the rotator cuff, and supraspinatus, Achilles and patellar tendons. The presence of calcific deposits may worsen the clinical manifestations of tendinopathy with an increase in rupture rate, slower recovery times and a higher frequency of post-operative complications. The aetiopathogenesis of CT is still controversial, but seems to be the result of an active cell-mediated process and a localized attempt of the tendon to compensate the original decreased stiffness. Tendon healing includes many sequential processes, and disturbances at different stages of healing may lead to different combinations of histopathological changes, diverting the normal healing processes to an abnormal pathway. In this review, we discuss the theories of pathogenesis behind CT. Better understanding of the pathogenesis is essential for development of effective treatment modalities and for improvement of clinical outcomes.

Calcific Tendinopathy; Calcific Deposits; Tendons; Review