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What are Calcium Deposits?

Calcium deposits appear more often in women and is associated with osteoporosis.
Cortisone injections can be used to reduce the inflammation caused by calcium deposits.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2014
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Calcium deposits are small buildups of calcium which can occur anywhere in the body, although they are especially common in the shoulder. The cause of calcium buildups is not fully understood, although doctors have come up with some theories, ranging from stress to vitamin deficiencies. Many of these deposits require no medical treatment, and in some cases they may even reabsorb back into the body. In some situations, however, it may be necessary to pursue treatment to deal with a calcium deposit.

These formations start out small and soft, growing and hardening slowly over time. People often notice calcium deposits because they grow large and hard enough to be felt through the skin, or because they put stress on surrounding tendons and muscles. The area around the calcification may also become inflamed as a result of irritation, causing the region to feel hot and sore. A large deposit can restrict freedom of movement by making it hard for someone to move a tendon or muscle comfortably.

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If a calcium deposit begins to cause inflammation, injections of cortisone may be used at the site to bring the swelling down. Using ice packs to bring down swelling and inflammation can be recommended to help the patient cope with the pain caused by the buildup of calcium. If these measures do not work, or the patient experiences profound discomfort, it may be necessary to use surgery to take the calcium out of the affected area. The deposits do not usually regrow after removal.

Occasionally, calcium deposits develop in places which could be potentially dangerous or problematic. These deposits may interfere with the function of the body, or cause permanent damage as a result of straining or damaging surrounding soft tissue. In these situations, patients are usually advised to have surgery to remove the calcification, and the doctor may recommend additional follow up treatment to monitor the area for signs of recurrence, and to check for damage which may have been left behind.

Women appear to be more at risk for calcium deposits, and they are commonly associated with osteoporosis and aging. Because the cause of these formations is not fully understood, it is difficult to establish guidelines for people who want to prevent the formation of calcifications. However, eating a balanced diet and ensuring that the bones are supported with sufficient calcium and other minerals may help, and it certainly cannot hurt.

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anon330323
Post 8

I agree with malmal. It seems calcium deposits are built up due to having too much. I have two in between my nose and the inside of my eye.

anon322272
Post 7

I had calcium deposits and then was found to be vitamin d deficient. I was prescribed 50,000 iu of vitamin d2 twice a week. After two weeks the calcium deposits disappeared. I was shocked. Some had been there for years and they are just gone. I can't be sure the d2 caused it but I'm not taking anything else and all five deposits gone at the same time seems too coincidental. Kind of interesting.

anon217925
Post 6

Can a person get calcium deposits on fingernails?

I had synthetic nails and a few of my nails were slightly damaged near the cuticle as they were taken off. At least that's what I think happened. It looks like a bump at the cuticle and it goes all across the bottom of my cuticle. a few other nails have it too, but not all. Can you help me please? I wash my hands a lot. I was hoping it isn't nail fungi. It isn't discolored just a slight white near the base. Please help me. --L.G.

TheGraham
Post 5

@gimbell - I'm not sure if your doctor already mentioned this or what, so I figured I would bring it up. Did you know that some people believe that arthritis is caused by calcium deposits?

From what I've read about the subject, calcium deposits in tendons grow large enough to make moving your hands or, in your case, feet, painful. It supposedly also weakens the muscle tendons themselves, and causes that familiar inflammation that arthritis is known for.

I know not everybody who has arthritis has calcium deposits, but maybe they just haven't had enough calcification for the deposits to form.

Just food for thought. Good to hear you've recovered from your own calcium heel problem and are back to walking!

gimbell
Post 4

Boy do I hate calcium deposits. Let me tell you, if you think calcium deposits are bad by themselves, try arthritis and calcium deposits -- it's miserable! I had calcium deposits on both feet around the heel bones for awhile, and just walking around each day was an ordeal. I finally got surgery to have th calcium deposits removed, though, and thankfully it seems they're not going to return.

hanley79
Post 3

@Malka - If your sister went to a chiropractor, and they took x-rays of her back and spine around the shoulder area, they would notice any calcium deposits in shoulder bones in the x-rays. Since calcium deposits are made of something similar to our bones, I'll bet they show up on x-rays.

Malka
Post 2

Hey, is it possible that what you think is a chiropractic type of problem might actually be caused by a calcium deposit? My sister has lots of pain and discomfort in her shoulders that just seems to have started up a year or so ago with no apparent reason for doing so. Is it possible for calcium deposits in shoulder bones to cause shoulder and back pain that won't go away? I mean, she tries to take her vitamins, but I wouldn't be surprised if she's calcium deficient, so it's a possibility, right?

malmal
Post 1

Wait, so to prevent forming calcium deposits and to avoid needing surgeries for removing calcium deposits, you should take more calcium, not less? That doesn't make sense to me. That, and that if you are calcium deficient it can increase the risk of calcium deposits forming. Why not the other way around?

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