Premier Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine -  - Orthopaedic Surgeon

Robert E. Karsch, MD, FAAOS

Orthopaedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist located in Decatur, GA & Atlanta, GA

Rotator Cuff Tear Specialist

A torn rotator cuff will weaken your shoulder, which means that many daily activities like washing your hair or getting dressed may become painful and difficult to do. Dr. Karsch has over 20 years of diagnosing and treating rotator cuff tears, both surgically and non-surgically. Dr. Karsch has offices in Decatur and Sandy Springs, Georgia in order to serve patients in the greater Atlanta area.

Rotator Cuff Tear Q & A

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

Shoulder injuries are amongst the most common orthopedic injury and at the top of the list are rotator cuff tears. Rotator cuff injuries make up more than six million shoulder injuries that are diagnosed in the United States annually. A rotator cuff tear can cause a dull ache or a sharp pain deep within the shoulder. This type of pain often worsens when you try to sleep on the affected side.

What is a Rotator Cuff Injury?

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and several tendons in the shoulder girdle connecting the upper arm (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff tendons provide stability to the shoulder and allow the shoulder to lift and rotate. This intricate combination of tendons and muscles makes the shoulder more attune to receiving injury through normal wear and tear. Rotator cuff injuries can also occur from falling, lifting, and repetitive arm activities such as demonstrated in sports like tennis, baseball, or swimming. There are two different types of rotator cuff tears: acute and chronic.

  1. Acute – Symptoms of an acute rotator cuff tear can come on suddenly with a tearing sensation followed by severe pain that shoots from the upper shoulder down the arm toward the elbow. There is a decreased range of motion of the shoulder because of pain and muscle spasm.
  2. Chronic – Implies a gradual weakness in the injured shoulder and a decreased ability to move. Pain usually worsens at night and may interfere with sleep. The affected person is unable to use the injured arm for activities that entail lifting the arm as high as or higher than the shoulder level to the front or side.

What is Treatment Like?

Treatment for rotator cuff injuries requires individualized attention based on the significance of the tear, the location, your age, and your activity level. Surgical and non-surgical treatments are the two main courses of action for treating rotator cuff injuries. Generally, non-surgical conservative treatments will be approached first. These can include:

  • Rest - Resting the injured joint is the first step to swelling and pain reduction. Be sure to keep using the arm gently. Keeping it immobilized can lead to a painful condition called frozen shoulder.
  • Ice - In the first 24 hours of an injury, apply ice to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Heat - After 24 hours have passed, a heating pad or hot compress can help.
  • Anti-Inflammatories - Reduce pain and swelling by taking or aspirin.
  • Physical therapy and Exercise - Gentle exercises and stretches designed to strengthen the muscle can treat many rotator cuff injuries.
  • Steroids - Cortisone can be injected directly into the rotator cuff to reduce inflammation and pain, but steroid injection should be used under the careful direction of a doctor.

Most rotator cuff injuries don’t require surgery. However, if a rotator cuff is torn, or if other treatments have not helped, surgery such as arthroscopy may be required.

Insurance Accepted

Please call the office for questions regarding billing and insurance. We accept most insurance plans that do not require a referral from a Primary Care Physician and will do our best to inform you of your co-pays, deductibles, and network participation. We do not accept any form of Medicaid or Tricare. We are pleased to offer CareCredit as a payment option.

Aetna
Beech Street
Blue Cross Blue Shield
CareCredit
Cigna
Coventry Health Care
First Health
GEHA
Guardian
Humana
Medicare
Multiplan PPO
PHCS
UMR
United Healthcare
Testimonials

Words from our patients

  • Healthgrades

    "Dr. Karsch has always been very professional around me. In the past he has done surgery on both shoulders with a great outcome and takes care of both knees."

    Floyd K.
  • Healthgrades

    "Dr. Karsch was also very detailed and helpful in his explanations of how he planned to repair my tendon and he also performed a seamless surgery with 0 pain."

    Brandon P.
  • "Dr. Karsch is the bomb.com. He explained everything step by step. I'm completely aware of what is going on. Hopefully I won't be back!"

    Verified Patient
  • "Excellent service - they listened and responded with sympathy and expertise. Great front office staff; friendly and prompt."

    Verified Patient
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