A mild-to-moderate strain of the hamstring muscle usually only involves one of the several tendons of that muscle. A tiny tear occurs where the muscle and tendon blend together. This is called the musculotendinous junction.
In cases like this, nonsurgical treatment (conservative care) is advised. This consists of rest, ice, and antiinflammatory drugs. A physical therapist can help with the use of heat, electrical stimulation, stretching, and exercise.
Most soft tissues take about six weeks to heal. You can certainly play during this time if you feel up to it, but you risk reinjury and a worse situation. Complete rupture of the tendon will likely require surgery to repair it.
Return to play takes much longer after surgical treatment. The average time to return to full function or sports activity after surgery has been reported around 8.5 months.
You can return to full sports participation when the strength of the injured leg is equal to 80 per cent of the uninjured side. This is a safe measure to use for both a strain treated conservatively and for a rupture treated surgically. The therapist has several ways to test the muscle for loss or return of strength.