Rotator Cuff Tear Specialist

Robert E. Karsch, MD, FAAOS -  - Orthopaedic Surgeon

Premier Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

Robert E. Karsch, MD, FAAOS

Orthopaedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist located in Tucker, GA

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 an office in 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.

Beech Street
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Coventry Health Care
First Health
Multiplan PPO