woman talking to doctor about shoulder pain

Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears in Central GA

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

One of several types of rotator cuff injuries, a rotator cuff tear is a common injury that causes shoulder pain and reduces your ability to use your arm. The rotator cuff is one of the most important parts of the shoulder. It consists of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder in place and allow you to perform basic arm movements, such as lifting your arms and reaching above your head. Rotator cuff tears can be caused by either traumatic injury or tissue degeneration over time. Tears can occur suddenly when falling or colliding with someone or develop over time due to repetitive activities. Degeneration of tissues in the shoulder is also common with aging. 

There are many potential causes of pain and discomfort in the shoulder, making an accurate diagnosis key to a successful recovery. When you see one of our orthopaedic shoulder specialists at OrthoGeorgia, we will determine the cause of your shoulder pain and help you find relief via a personalized treatment plan. Learn more about rotator cuff tears below, and contact the OrthoGeorgia clinic location nearest you for the care you deserve.

What are the Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear?

The exact symptoms you experience following a rotator cuff tear depend on the severity of the tear. Some individuals have no symptoms at all. Whether you are experiencing sudden, intense pain or pain that has come on gradually, you should consult with a medical professional to determine the best next steps. Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear most often include:

  • Shoulder pain that worsens with certain activities, arm movements, and at night
  • Pain and weakness when raising, lowering, or rotating the arm
  • Popping, clicking, or crackling sounds when moving the shoulder
  • Pain that feels like a deep ache or an intense stabbing sensation
  • Arm and shoulder weakness

How is a Rotator Cuff Tear Diagnosed?

When you come to us with a suspected rotator cuff tear, your orthopaedic specialist will take the time to get to know you and understand your symptoms. They will ask you when your pain began and what makes it better or worse, along with conducting a physical exam of your shoulder and the surrounding areas. They will assess the range of motion and strength of your shoulder and arm as part of the diagnostic process. In order to confirm the diagnosis of a rotator cuff tear, your physician may order imaging tests. An X-ray may be performed to check for arthritis or bone spurs, while an MRI or ultrasound can be used to check for tears in the surrounding tendons. Digital X-rays are offered at all of our clinic locations in Central GA, and MRI scans are available in Macon and Warner Robins.

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment in Central GA

Rotator cuff tears can be treated both surgically and nonsurgically. Your doctor at OrthoGeorgia will let you know what type of treatment is best for you based on your symptoms and the severity of your injury. We will walk you through your treatment options and ensure that your questions are answered every step of the way.

Nonsurgical Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears

A torn rotator cuff will not heal on its own, but it is possible to improve functionality and decrease pain with conservative treatment methods. Strengthening the shoulder muscles can go a long way in helping a patient deal with the symptoms of a partial rotator cuff tear. Your doctor will most likely start by telling you to rest and limit your overhead activities, as well as avoid activities that cause shoulder pain. Anti-inflammatory medications can also be used to help with pain and swelling. 

From there, your doctor may suggest physical therapy, which is crucial for strengthening the shoulder, improving flexibility, and regaining range of motion. These techniques, when performed properly, can also help you avoid future injury. At OrthoGeorgia, our physical therapists work with patients of all ages to address orthopaedic injuries and various conditions, including rotator cuff tears. With physical therapy care available in Macon, Warner Robins, and Kathleen, we make it easy for those in Central GA to find the care they need following an injury. Our therapists also work closely with our orthopaedic specialists so that all areas of a patient’s care are aligned.

Will I Need Surgery for a Rotator Cuff Tear?

Surgery for a rotator cuff tear is usually only needed in cases of a complete tear, or when nonsurgical treatment methods do not relieve pain. Surgery is also sometimes recommended for athletes who anticipate staying active and regularly using their shoulders in their sport. If surgery is the best next step for you, your surgeon will walk you through your options and ensure that you are fully prepared for the procedure. 

There are a variety of surgical techniques that are utilized to repair a rotator cuff tear. These procedures can often be performed arthroscopically, using small incisions, or via more traditional open surgical procedure. Arthroscopic surgery provides patients with several benefits, including a lower risk of complications and a shorter recovery time. If you have suffered a severe tear that is not repairable, reverse total shoulder replacement may be the best next step. It is important to closely follow your doctor’s instructions after your surgery to have a successful recovery. They will tell you what to do at home, when to come for a follow-up visit, and when to start your physical therapy routine.

Total Joint Replacement Specialists at OrthoGeorgia

Dr. Jonathan Harris headshot
Jonathan S. Harris, MD
Jorgenson 500px
Dennis K. Jorgensen, MD
Kinnebrew 500px
Todd E. Kinnebrew, MD
Dr. Gregory Lee headshot
Gregory P. Lee, MD
Ludwig 500px
Brian J. Ludwig, MD
Dr. Wood Pope headshot
Wood D. Pope, MD
Dr. Joseph Slappey headshot
Joseph E. Slappey Jr., MD
Stapleton 500px
Timothy R. Stapleton, MD
Dr. Richard Thomas headshot
Richard J. Thomas, MD
Thornsberry 500px
Robert M. Thornsberry, MD
dr toth headshot
Matthew J. Toth, MD
Dr. Zaneb Yaseen headshot
Zaneb Yaseen, MD

Total Joint Care Locations

Location Icon HeroMacon

Macon Urgent Care

3708 Northside Drive, Building A, Macon, GA 31210

Call (478) 745-4206

Location Icon HeroMacon Spine Center

Spine Center

3708 Northside Drive, Building B, Macon, GA 31210

Call (478) 745-4206

Location Icon HeroWarner Robins

Warner Robins Urgent Care

301 Margie Drive, Warner Robins, GA 31088

Call (478) 971-1153

Location Icon HeroKathleen

Kathleen Orthopaedic Center

2510 GA-127, Kathleen, GA 31047

Call (478) 971-1153

Location Icon HeroMilledgeville

OrthoGeorgia Milledgeville office

2803 North Columbia Street, Suite D, Milledgeville, GA 31061

Call (478) 414-5820

Location Icon HeroHawkinsville


222 Perry Hwy, Bldg B, Hawkinsville, GA 31036, USA

Call (478) 971-1153

Awards and Affiliations

Viewers Choice 2024
The Telegraph Best of 2021
Greater Macon Business of Year
Go Beyond Proffit Member
Top 100
AAAHC Accreditation
ACR Radiology Computed
ACR Radiology Magnetic
ACR Radiology Magnetic
TheOrthoForum Member
Greater Macon Business of Year