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What Causes Calcium Build-Up on Bones?

author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
What Causes Calcium Build-Up on Bones?
Numerous conditions or factors can cause calcium build-up on your bones. Photo Credit Heath Korvola/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Numerous conditions or factors can cause calcium build-up on your bones. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body and is essential for developing and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps your heart, nerves, muscles and other body systems function properly. In some people, however, excess calcium accumulates on the bones, causing health problems that may cause discomfort and affect your activities of daily living.


Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, or DISH, is a disease that causes calcium build up on or near your bones. According to MayoClinic.com, DISH, also known as Forestier's disease, is calcification, or a bony hardening of ligaments, in areas where they attach to your vertebrae, or spinal bones. In most people, DISH only affects the spine, but other people may develop DISH in their heels, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and hands. The most common symptom associated with DISH is stiffness and decreased range of motion throughout your spine. Other possible symptoms associated with DISH include pain in the affected area, difficulty swallowing and a hoarse voice. MayoClinic.com states that your likelihood of developing DISH is increased if you are male, over 50 years of age, have diabetes or take certain medications.


Fractures, or broken bones, can cause calcium to accumulate near the fracture site. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, or AAOS, states that fractures are usually caused by traumatic accidents, decreased bone mineral density or stress injuries. Your bone may completely fracture or partially fracture in several ways, including crosswise, lengthwise or in the middle. Symptoms associated with fractures include pain in the affected area, swelling and bruising, decreased range of motion and decreased mobility. As your fracture begins to heal, calcium is deposited at the fracture site to shore up, or strengthen, the broken segment.


Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate deposition disease, or CPPD deposition disease, can cause calcium build-up on bones. According to the Merck Manuals website, CPPD deposition disease is the deposition of CPPD crystals either inside or outside of your joints. The University of Washington School of Medicine, or UWSM, states that CPPD deposition disease causes bone and joint pain, swelling and redness in or around one or several of your joints. In some cases, CPPD crystals may cause you to experience symptoms that resemble rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. In the past, notes the UWSM, physicians referred to CPPD deposition disease as pseudogout because gout-related crystals and the crystals associated with CPPD cause similar symptoms. CPPD disease can cause intermittent bouts of pain that range from mild to severe. Conventional biomedical treatment for this condition involves the use of corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.


A healthy diet can cause calcium build-up on or in your bones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, adequate calcium consumption, along with sufficient amounts of weight-bearing activity, can help you build strong bones, optimize your bone mineral density and reduce your risk of osteoporosis and fractures later in life. Your body cannot generate calcium, so it must absorb calcium from the food you eat. Effective sources of calcium include dairy products, like cheese and yogurt, dark green leafy vegetables such as bok choy and broccoli, nuts and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice, cereal and certain types of bread. If you are 19 to 50 years of age, your recommended daily calcium intake is 1000 mcg. Older individuals require slightly more calcium per day to maintain bone health and other important body functions, the CDC states.

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