What Happens if a Rotator Cuff Tear is Left Untreated?

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A rotator cuff tear is painful and can severely hinder your ability to rotate and lift your arm. Initially, the pain might feel mild, but eventually, it will spread down the side of your arm. You might have a hard time performing common daily activities, such as reaching for items, getting dressed, taking a shower/bathing, or combing your hair. The chronic pain makes it difficult to sleep, and you can quickly become sleep deprived. Delaying treatment of a torn rotator cuff can increase the risk of the shoulder sustaining even more damage because the tendons and muscles cannot heal properly. The overused muscles will start fraying, and additional tears can develop.

Dr. Christopher Williams at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA knows and understands the seriousness of a torn rotator cuff. Whether the tear is new or you have been struggling to cope with the tear for an extended period of time, Dr. Williams and his medical team are here to help. We encourage you to contact the healthcare team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta to learn about treatment options and schedule an initial consultation.

What is a torn rotator cuff?

The term rotator cuff refers to a large group of muscles and tendons that work together to link and surround the shoulder joint. They provide stability to the shoulder socket and upper arm. When a tear in the rotator cuff occurs from a traumatic event or injury, the shoulder, the muscles, and the socket no longer function correctly. The tear can vary in severity, and it can also worsen considerably over time.

Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff

Sufferers of a torn rotator cuff will typically experience a chronic deep ache. Additional pain develops over time. Other symptoms include:


  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Inability to lay on the side of the injured shoulder

  • Numbness

  • Sharp pain

  • Weakness of the arm

  • Difficulty raising the arm over the head

A rotator cuff tear happens as a result of an injury or from everyday wear on the area. Carrying out ongoing repetitive movements can lead to a rotator cuff tear. Construction jobs and athletes frequently experience torn rotator cuffs. Individuals with a family history of rotator cuff tears are also more likely to experience the situation. You can prevent rotator cuff injuries by strengthening your shoulder and back muscles.

Dr. Williams at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA will evaluate your torn rotator cuff injury. If the tear is not bad, he could recommend rest, anti-inflammatory medication, ice, and physical therapy. Dr. Williams may also recommend orthobiologic injections such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) or bone marrow concentrate for large tears. Other treatment modalities such as shockwave (ESWT) or PEMF may be helpful also.

Without a professional medical diagnosis and treatment, your discomfort will likely continue to increase. Unfortunately, most rotator cuff muscles will not heal by themselves. They require treatment interventions to heal successfully. Typically, a combination of medications, rest, physical therapy, injections, and possible surgery is the treatment protocol for treating a torn rotator cuff before the condition worsens.

Schedule your consultation for rotator cuff treatment in Atlanta, GA

With a rotator cuff tear, prompt treatment is imperative to prevent worsening of the condition and increased discomfort. Contact Dr. Christopher Williams and his healthcare team today at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA to schedule a consultation.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.