Thanks for answering these questions. It's extremely helpful. I have been experiencing problems with the outer lower side of my right knee since late January. I first noticed the pain during the end of a spinning class. I had biked and run in the snow the day before pain free. Have since tried icing, stretching, physical therapy etc., and the pain persists. It seems start most quickly when I run, about 1 or 2 miles into the run. It also hurts when cycling, but may not start hurting until 30 miles into a ride. I ran a marathon in the fall without any problem whatsoever with this pain. The pain started when I was at my yearly low in training volume. The week before the pain started i had really beat myself up trying to learn how to snowboard. I don't recall hurting my knee, but perhaps I did something that put my entire body out of balance. Extremely frustrated at this point. Would appreciate any suggestions. Particularly, how much total rest should I give it, and could a cortisone shot do the trick.
Jeff - sounds liek you hurt your ITB distal insertion. The tissue has to travel over the lateral femoral condyle and cycling makes it rub over the bony prominence again and again and again - leading to inflammation and pain.
ITB stretches, orthotics (especially in your cycling shoes) and butt strengthening are all appropriate for you to do. I would avoid cortisone until the last resort.