The tendons at the ends of the rotator cuff muscles can become torn, leading to pain and restricted movement of the arm. A torn rotator cuff can occur following a trauma to the shoulder or it can occur through the "wear and tear" on tendons, most commonly the supraspinatus tendon found under the acromion.
Rotator cuff injuries are commonly associated with motions that require repeated overhead motions or forceful pulling motions. Such injuries are frequently sustained by athletes whose actions include making repetitive throws, athletes such as cheerleaders, baseball pitchers, softball pitchers, American football players (especially quarterbacks), weightlifters, especially powerlifters due to extreme weights used in the bench press, rugby players, volleyball players (due to their swinging motions), water polo players, rodeo team ropers, shot put throwers (due to using poor technique), swimmers, boxers, kayakers, western martial artists, fast bowlers in cricket, tennis players (due to their service motion) and tenpin bowlers due to the repetitive swinging motion of the arm with the weight of a bowling ball.
This type of injury also commonly affects orchestra conductors, choral conductors, and drummers (due, again, to swinging motions).