Calcified Ligaments / Joints

Hello. Just wondering if anyone else with RA has had x-rays showing calcification in joints and/or ligaments. My recent x-rays show calcification in my ankles and Achilles tendons. It feels like broken glass in my ankle joints.

I have two questions...

1) I'm wondering if this is common with RA sufferers, or if this may be caused from something else like years of walking on concrete for long hours.

2) Is there anything that can be done to remedy this? I do yoga, massage, rubbing with tennis balls, and use a percussion vibrator massage device. My doctor offered no suggestions.

3) Can this go away or ease up if an RA medication eventually starts working?

If you suffer from joint and muscle pain, I do recommend the percussion vibrators. I just borrowed one from my mother and it does help some, and is said to break up some of the calcification. With that said, nothing seems to stop the extreme pain completely. Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks.

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I have a thing in my knees, and maybe my elbow, called chondrocalcinosis...Its calcium crystals and its painful, but i dont think same as what you have not sure. I heard it can be from hypothyroidsim which i have, and supposedly mild lupus. The only thing that knocks the pain back is a strong anti inflammatory called diclofenac....My Gran had rhumetoid arthritis bad, but so far that's not what i have. The chondrocalcinosis showed up on x-rays...I have been a walker, and was huge into aerobics back in the day...I hope you feel better :)

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Thanks for the comment dgleds. I have been tested for Lupus, so I don't think it's that. I also don't think I have thyroid issues. Maybe I'll ask my doctor about diclofenac. That sounds familiar. I may have been on that in the past, but maybe it would help now. Not sure I want to add another med to my current list of 5 medications. Sorry to hear you have so many issues. Hang in there :)

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The one i take is sodium diclofenac. They wanted me to take arthrotec, but it was expensive...You have to eat something when you take diclofenac, casue a little harsh on the tummy , or can be...I can take 1 diclofenac and it knocks back the pain and inflamation for about 3 days for me...Ive been doing pretty good, but its been very hot here and it made my joints hurt, which was a first...

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Thank you. I'll look into it and will remember to eat with it if I end up on it. Hope you feel better.

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Do I guess correctly that you live abroad (..."very hot here")? I was prescribed Diclofenac for osteoarthritis many years ago and very helpful I found it, but in the U.K. they won't give it now because of serious side-effects. Naproxen seems to be the present anti-inflammatory of choice - which I am still given, besides R.A. medication, though it also needs to be taken on food plus the once-daily stomach protector Omeprazole.

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Me? I live not far from Vancouver, BC, but i use to live in the UK, and my family is from the UK.....I think they might be getting funny about diclofenac over here too, cause she hummed and hawed when i asked for a refill, even though the rhumetologist suggested it (Arthrotec)....I couldnt afford the Arthrotec, so they said diclofenac, as its the same but without the stomache soothing part of the med...I can get by taking it very seldom, so far...Yes, we had a stinking hot summer...it got to be too much, with no rain for ages...

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Hello needforaname,

Here is an article that may answer some of your questions😊All the best, Simba.

raypeat.com/articles/articl...

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Simba1992 Thanks as always. I did some research on it, but this article you've provided is better than anything I found. Thanks again.

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Check how old the references are though NFN (a recurring theme from this blogger).... I'm sure there must be more recent relevant info, maybe this arthritisresearchuk.org/art...

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I just looked the article, and opened his art gallery page. That is seriously weird, if not a bit creepy? I have nothing against paintings of nude young women (particularly when done by a good artist which to my mind he is not) but his are all very idealised women rather than real ones, so leans more towards titillation. Not sure that's what I want in a health adviser?

Odd when he rails against hormones to choose women with figures that are very dependant on high oestrogen levels and low progesterone?

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The article brings up many important facts and information about calcium metabolism. This was the point of the link. It is sad that so often on this site dialog about research and science based articles are so hard have. Instead of finding something interesting, the aim is to eather redicule the writer or the scientific evidence and there it often ends😢

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Don't you find it odd that someone whose aim is to spread serious ideas mixes his site with pictures of nubile young women? Which is not to say doctors can't also be artists, but I don't know many who have dual website.

Apparently (and I haven't checked this, it's merely what I seem to have retained from biology studies) oestrogen causes breast enlargement and deposits of fat on hips etc, leading to the classic hour glass shape of women that seems to be considered as desirable. By contrast progesterone increases after pregnancy leading to more apple shaped women...

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There has recently been a lot of research on estrogene-progesterone imbalance in favor of estrogen. It has been noted that this imbalance has many adverse effects on many bodily functions and in perticular causes an inflammatory state. Adjusting the balance with progesterone supplementation has shown to have many possitive effects. So it's about the ratio not about the quanity.

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Could you please elaborate on your last question. I don't really know what you mean by .." women dependent on high estrogen an low progesterone".

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I too am a bit reluctant to put much credence in many of the more cooky natural health / alternative medicine practitioners. I base this skepticism after numerous experiences with charlatans over the years who base their findings on non science based information. However I also have a tendency to not put much too much stock in the gung ho western medicine approach which resorts only to prescribing toxic drugs.

I think the best approach is to obtain info from both sides and make a conclusion that is usually somewhere in the middle. I appreciate Simba's recommendations because she is willing to take the time to share her findings. I also appreciate your kindness in these forums, as you've helped me as well.

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I have calcification in both shoulders 😩So I understand your pain, I also have RA, I am not sure if it connected to RA but after seeing surgeon it was decided that as my ligaments are torn I can carry on with injection therapy, steroid. This does help but can depend on who does the injection!

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Ouch! Yeah, I too have wondered if maybe the calcification or part of the pain is from years of roofing and parking lot repair (walking 18 hour days on concrete in bad shoes). That's interesting that the steroid injection effectiveness depends on who administers it. Maybe it has to do with the location of injection. Oral steroids didn't work for me, so I'm on the fence regarding the injections. Do the injections give you anxiety like the oral meds? Hopefully you can heal your torn ligaments. Do you know what caused them to tear? Over working them? Have you tried yoga or slow tai chi type movement and strengthening?

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Hello. I have lots of ligament issues which for me are by far the greater part of my RA. No one seems to want to focus on that talk when I see the Consultant though. What are your symptoms and which ligaments hurt the most?

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I agree with you regarding the lack of focus on ligament pain. It's my ankles that have been bothering me most. The top of my foot feels like broken glass. My Achilles tendon is awfully tight but not as painful. Recent x-rays showed calcification in bones and ligaments including the achiles. My knees have the broken glass spurs. Hands and neck also hurt, as well as the jaw. I'm not sure if the pain is primarily lilgaments / tendons or bone / muscle. What body parts bother you most? Does your pain also wake you up early from sleep? Morning times have been incredibly tough. Very stiff and very painful. Difficult to make a fist or walk until an hour after I take my pain meds.

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Hello. Well I certainly was exactly like that before my RA treatment well and truly kicked in. I am now on high dose methotrexate and a biologic and after 1 year I am feeling so much better. I don't take pain killers any more. My tendons (mainly hamstrings) but also biceps are still tender. I've also had Both knees replaced! But the pain is not an issue now. Every morning when I get out of bed, I can't believe that I can stand up. I'm the early days of RA, I couldn't even stand up for at least 30 mins and then was stiff all day and I was in naproxen every 6 hours. Are you being treated for RA?

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Wow... that's incredible to hear. Yes I am being treated. Was on MTX for 4 months. It wasn't working so I stopped and have been on Embrell (biologic) for 1 month. It's not working yet, but I have to give it time. I may need to do combination therapy like you. Pain is incredible. The pain meds help get me through the day (barely). I now wonder if I should go back on MTX or maybe rituximab infusions or something else. I'll have to do more research. Thanks and glad you've found some relief. So how long did it take for you to start noticing you were feeling better?

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Do you know what. In all honesty, I would say 9 months on methotrexate before it really worked and that got me to 70% and I've been on Benepali for 12 weeks and I'd say I'm up to 90%. So I would say stick with it and play the long game. I'm so grateful to the meds for getting me back to some kind of normality but it's taken 16 months so far ....

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Oh wow. That's some real patience. I would have switched drugs after 6 months of not working since that seems to be the time when some relief should be noticed. Maybe for those of us with long standing pain, it just takes a lot of time for our bodies to re-adjust. Are you seropostive (high anti-ccp) like me? I've read that seropositive RA sufferers tend to take longer with to feel the benefits of the RA meds.

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I don't have calcification in my joints ( at least I don't think so!) but I did have calcification of a root canal in one of my front teeth. Clemmie

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Ouch! Did you also experience receding gums around your root canal? I've experienced this... and often wonder if the root canal was the trigger for my RA. I didn't realize there could be calcification of teeth. Sounds painful with all of those nerves. Hope it doesn't get worse for you.

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Hi , i had a severe shoulder injury years ago and went through many steroid injections, eventually they stopped working and i was in pain night and day . I saw a new rheumy who said i had a build up of calcium in the joint , he tried to syringe it out but the build up was much too severe . I was then sent for decompression surgery which took many months of physio to get over but i now have a pain free shoulder , it felt like a miracle after years of awful pain . Best wishes 🌸🌸🌸

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Wow... sounds like you've been through a lot. Could you please share how the decompression surgery works? I googled the term but only found a couple of articles that used confusing medical terminology that I don't understand. Glad to hear you finally were able to end the pain :)

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It was done through key hole and the surgeon removed the calcium build up and also shaved off some of the bone where there was impingement. I was in a sling for 6 weeks then had physio for 6 months. It was hard work but made such a difference. I wish i could get rid of the pain i have now so easily !! Im getting 4 spinal facet joint injections for slipped discs on friday . Have you had any treatment recommended?

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6 weeks! Wow. I couldn't afford to take off 6 weeks from working. How did you avoid bed sores being held up that long in a sling? To answer your question... no I haven't had any treatment recommendations. My doctor just said that it's part of the RA experience and that we will have to wait for the Embrell to work. My doctors are both not very sympathetic it seems. I've told them about my erectile issues (no sensation or ability to function for months now), and they don't seem to care. Part of the problem is the Cymbalta they wanted me to go on. When I told them that was part of the problem, their answer was to double the dose. Maybe because they are female or possibly don't care about sex themselves, they don't understand the importance for a man to function. It's not the best for my marriage, that's for sure. I'm just bitching now, sorry. But to answer your question.. no they haven't recommended any treatments.

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Its hard to balance the benefits of the treatment with the side effects. I was diagnosed with sjogrens two years ago , but I probably had it for years before that , it was inly when i became so unwell and couldn't function that i managed to get a diagnosis. I now get rituximab infusions which have made a great difference. Im lucky my husband and family are very supportive and understanding. I have found this site a great help but i do need to withdraw from it sometimes as you can get obsessed with your problems and ive decided not to let the disease control me. Do you have a rheumatology nurse you can contact for advice or maybe bring your app forward to talk through treatment options?

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Hi - I have calcification of the tendons/ligaments in both shoulders - and very painful it is too, so I totally empathise with you. I've had two steroid injections in my worst shoulder which helped for a time. The first one helped more than the second. Now, I'm just hoping I can manage for a while before I need another injection. I was told that the next step is what they call "debridement" I think - which is where they clean out the calcium crystals using something like keyhole surgery. I understand that's not a pleasant thing to have.

I'm not diagnosed with RA, though I do have all the symptoms and a family history - but, because my blood tests are negative, they haven't diagnosed me. I am about to go to a different rheumatologist as a locum GP I went to suspected something called enthesitis - which, after reading up on it, sounds quite similar to calcification. Apparently, it's where the ligaments and tendons solidify at the joints. I suspect I may have something like this in my feet/ankles too as I've had problems there for some time which have been put down as "unexplained pain and swelling" by my useless GP.

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Dang... I hope you find out what's causing your issues. Not knowing is horrible because there is no plan for treatment. I tried steroid pills and they didn't help me. I wonder if the injections can work for folks where the oral method didn't work. I'll have to ask my doctor. I'll research the keyhole surgery. Thank you and best of luck making progress with your diagnosis and treatment. It's tough.

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Me too. My tendons and ligaments are the most painful parts of my legs and ankles with my RA and moreso than the joints. No one is interested in scanning my knees or ankles. Never had a scan in twenty years since RA started. Hope you can get relief from yours.

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Thanks for the comment Neonkittie17. I would definitely recommend getting an x-ray done of your joints. I guess it may not matter knowing if you have bone damage, holes in joints, or calcification but maybe they will approach your treatment differently. Best of luck.

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