Lateral Knee Pain Solutions: It's not really your knee!
I usually take a "bottom-up" approach to assessment, which means that we look at the full kinetic chain from your foot's contact with the floor and then work up to the top. Today, we are just considering a painful spot that can develop on the outside of either leg near the knee. There is a tendon that runs along the outside of our legs, starting at the hip near the hip flexor muscles and runs down along the thigh right next to the knee and close to your hamstring muscle. This tendon is called Illiotobial band or IT Band for short. The IT Band is a tendon, not a muscle, so its job is to stabilize the knee either when extended or flexed, depending on trunk position. Basically understood, it keeps you stable while walking, jogging or running.
A common source of discomfort related to inflammation of the IT Band is felt either at the hip or on the outside of the knee. One thing I have learned from professionals about IT Band rehabilitation is that there really isn't a stretch for this part of the leg. You end up stretching the hip muscles or muscles in the lower leg, and not much at the spot you want to address. The best method for relaxing these trigger points is to foam roll those spots.
As you can see from the video, you simply roll back and forth along the side of the leg. If you find a particularly tender spot, try holding the roller there for no more than 15 seconds. Applying pressure releases the tension in the muscle and tendon. If you don't have a foam roller, make sure you start with a softer roller to get started. I personally recommend Power Systems for their different types of rollers.