What Can Cause a Tear in the Rotator Cuff?

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Stress and overuse of the shoulder, falling on the shoulder or using the arm to break a fall, and lifting weights are all potential causes of rotator cuff tears, according to WebMD. People who play sports, including baseball, tennis and football, are prone to rotator cuff tears.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include pain, weakness and tenderness in the shoulder, and difficulty moving the shoulder, notes WebMD. The shoulder may be difficult to move, particularly when raising the arm above the head, and a popping or cracking sound may be heard during movement. Some people may be unable to sleep on the affected shoulder.