Iliotibial Band (IT Band) Syndrome is one of the most common pains experienced by runners. This pain is felt on the outside of the thigh, between the pelvis and the lower part of the knee. There are many causes for ITBS, including inadequate warming up or cooling down, excessive or endurance training with the legs, excessive squats, uneven leg length, being bowlegged, inflexibility, weak hip abductor muscles. Excessive wear on the outside of the outside heel of one's shoe can be indicative of being bowlegged, other skeletal and muscular issues, and improper running form.
You can use the RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) method to help treat the muscles, use a foam roller to help relieve tightness, and receive ultrasound treatments to ease pain as well. Obviously, consulting a doctor, an athletic therapist, chiropractor, or other muscular specialist for solutions is the best method for finding ways to heal your ITBS.
I often use foam rollers to help loosen up my IT band, and there are many stores and websites (check on http://www.amazon.com for a wide variety) that sell them for home use. Prices range anywhere from $10 to $80, depending on quality, brand name, material, etc. If you are a runner, having a foam roller around may not be such a bad idea, and you can use it for prevention of ITBS, in combination with proper stretches, warm-ups, and focusing on good form. Here's a pic of what the foam roller that I own looks like:
Take care of your muscles and stretch! Here's a basic IT band stretch:
Happy Leap Day!