Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Exercises and other Running topics.
Most runners have seen stretching aids, such as foam rollers, foot rollers, or "the Stick" advertised online or at running expos. Don't reject these items out of hand. For runners who suffer from chronic tight spots, sometimes these stretching aids give you the extra help you need.
I have found that a large foam roller or the Stick is especially helpful for stretching the iliotibial band, which is the group of fibrous tissues that run down the outside of your thigh from hip to knee. The IT band helps stabilize the entire leg, and if it becomes stiff and tight, it can cause chronic knee pain.
If you have pain along the outside of your knee or thigh, try using the Stick or rolling on a foam roller before running to help loosen the IT band. If your pain persists, consider a visit to a sports massage therapist to break up the stubborn adhesions, and then maintain your looser IT band with regular stretching.