What Are Calcium Deposits Under the Skin?

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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.

Identification

  • 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.

Scleroderma

  • 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.

Treatment

  • 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.

Misconceptions

  • 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.

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