Small tears of the central part of the SSP may be symptomless. However, if the tear is in the front of the tendon, the shoulder may start to become unstable and move awkwardly. If the tear extends backwards the shoulder will become weaker, particularly for outward rotation movements.
The main concern will be pain, especially at night. This is sometimes helped by injections and after a period of time, providing the shoulder has not stiffened, the function will return to near normal, and the pain will diminish substantially. However, it is recognised that small tears can become larger. The quality of the tendon neighbouring the tear will give an indication of the likelihood of further tearing.