An acute injury, such as a fall, may cause a torn rotator cuff, according to Mayo Clinic. Other causes include repetitive arm motions, lifting and pulling a heavy object, and irritation due to a bone spur.
Falling on an outstretched arm is a common cause of a torn rotator cuff, according to OrthoInfo. In such cases, the individual may also experience associated injuries, such as a broken collarbone or a shoulder dislocation. Moving a heavy object by jerking it can also cause a torn rotator cuff.
Repetitive shoulder movements put stress on the muscles and tendons that comprise the rotator cuff, explains OrthoInfo. Chores and jobs that involve frequent repetitive motions can cause this issue in addition to sports such as weightlifting, baseball and tennis.
A bone spur sometime develops with age and can rub on the rotator cuff tendon, as explained by OrthoInfo. This weakens the tendon and can lead to a tear.
Because most rotator cuff tears are due to wear and tear, they commonly occur in those over the age of 40, according to OrthoInfo. People who do a great deal of repetitive lifting or engage in overhead activities are at risk of rotator cuff issues. Falls often cause rotator cuff tears in younger people.