Calcific tendinopathy of the rotator cuff: the correlation between pain and imaging features in symptomatic and asymptomatic female shoulders

Valerio Sansone, Olmo Consonni, Emanuele Maiorano, Roberto Meroni, Alfredo Goddi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To provide new epidemiological data regarding the prevalence, distribution and macroscopic features of shoulder rotator cuff calcific tendinopathy (calcific tendinopathy), and to identify the characteristics of calcific deposits associated with shoulder pain. Materials and methods: Three hundred and two female volunteers (604 shoulders) who had been referred to a gynaecological clinic participated in the study. The subjects underwent a high-resolution ultrasonography of both shoulders, and those with a diagnosis of calcific tendinopathy compiled a standardized questionnaire relating to shoulder symptoms. We determined the prevalence of symptomatic and asymptomatic rotator cuff calcific tendinopathy, and compared differences in distribution and macroscopic features of the symptomatic and asymptomatic calcifications. Results: The prevalence of calcific tendinopathy was 17.8 % (103 shoulders). Ninety-five shoulders (15.7 %) were symptomatic; of these, calcific tendinopathy was found in 34 shoulders (33 %) on imaging. Of the 509 asymptomatic (84.3 %) shoulders, calcific tendinopathy was observed in 69 cases (67 %). Among tendons, supraspinatus (53.4 %) and infraspinatus (54.6 %) were the most frequently involved. The majority of calcific deposits were of maximum diameter between 2 and 5 mm (77.9 %), and were linear in form (69.9 %). The involvement of multiple tendons and a location in the supraspinatus tendon were found to be significantly correlated with pain (p = 0.023, p = 0.043 respectively), as were age (p = 0.041) and an excessive body mass index (p = 0.024). Conclusion: In this sample from the general population of working age females, both intrinsic factors (location in supraspinatus, multiple tendon involvement) and extrinsic variables (age, abnormally high BMI) were correlated with pain in calcific tendinopathy. Level of evidence: Level III, cross-sectional study, prevalence study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Calcific tendinopathy
  • Pain
  • Population-based study
  • Rotator cuff
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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