About Rotator Cuff Tears

What is it and what are my treatment options?

Rotator Cuff Tear Overview

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that stabilize and move the shoulder. A rotator cuff tear occurs when one or more of the tendons are partially or completely torn. Patients who injure their shoulder and experience rotator cuff tear symptoms should make an appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) shoulder specialist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment may make the injury and its symptoms worse.

Symptoms & Causes

Torn rotator cuff tear symptoms include:

  • Crepitus (a cracking sensation) when moving the shoulder
  • Difficulty raising and rotating the arm
  • Pain
  • Shoulder instability
  • Weakness

Common rotator cuff causes include:

  • Age
  • Falling on an outstretched arm
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Overuse
  • Throwing sports

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat partial rotator cuff tears. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA shoulder specialist may recommend:

  • Immobilization in a sling
  • Injections
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE)
  • Physical therapy

A minimally invasive rotator cuff repair may be recommended to treat complete tears. A CONA specialist repairs the torn tendon and attaches it to the shoulder bone.


A CONA specialist listens to the patient’s symptoms and asks questions to find out exactly when and how the injury occurred. A complete physical examination of the shoulder is performed, including strength and flexibility tests. Medical imaging studies are ordered and analyzed. X-rays show the shoulder bones and an MRI shows bones and soft tissues. If present, a rotator cuff tear is diagnosed.

Make an Appointment
with A Shoulder Specialist

A CONA specialist should see a rotator cuff tear as soon as possible. An early diagnosis ensures symptom relief and a quick recovery.

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4 Convenient Locations


1330 Boiling Springs Road
Suite 1600
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


115 Deacon Tiller Ct.
Duncan, SC 29334
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Greenville Office

220 Roper Mountain Road Ext
Greenville, SC 29615
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


1075 Boiling Springs Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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