Hamstring muscle injuries are especially common in sprinters and those playing sports involving sudden acceleration and sprinting such as football and rugby. Onset is most often sudden causing the individual to immediately stop often clutching the back of the thigh.
Quadriceps injuries generally occur with sports involving kicking a ball such as football or rugby. The mechanism of injury is one of over-stretching or over-contraction of the muscle, but direct trauma (contusion) to the quadriceps in sports such as rugby is not uncommon.
Lumbar spine problems can cause referred pain in both the front and back of thigh due to irritation of the femoral (front of thigh) or sciatic (back of thigh) nerves. Sacroiliac joints problems can also refer pain into the buttock and back of thigh.