Calcium deposits under the skin, technically referred to as calcinosis or calcifications, is a condition of abnormal amounts and deposits of calcium phosphate in the soft tissues.
Calcium deposits in the skin appear as hard, white or yellowish lumps that may occur in clusters, varying in size and quantity, depending on the patient's condition. These lumps leak a white paste-like substance when punctured.
Affected Skin Areas
Calcinosis lumps are common to the fingers, elbows, and shins, but they may appear anywhere on the body, and they may be hidden in the soft tissues, requiring X-ray detection.
Calcinosis is strongly associated with scleroderma, which is a chronic connective tissue disease that is characterized by the hardening of the skin. Symptoms vary by type and individual, and the condition ranges from mild to life-threatening.
Other Possible Causes
Other than scleroderma, conditions that may cause calcium deposits under the skin include dermatomyositis, parasitic infections, excessive vitamin D intake and lupus.
The Scleroderma Foundation reports that there is no known method to prevent calcium deposits (since they are a symptom of one of the aforementioned conditions), and there are no existing treatments to rid them, except for surgical excision of large, painful clusters in some cases.
Calcinosis is not caused by or related to too much calcium in the body. This is a common misconception, and patients should not discontinue dietary calcium intake if calcinosis is present.