I’ve been contending with some IT band pain for the last few weeks. In the week leading up to last Sunday I rested, rolled on a foam roller and stretched but any run of over 50 minutes brought on shooting pain in my left knee. I finally picked up an IT “band”, which is essentially a thick velcro garter that compresses the IT band above the knee.
There’s much speculation on the internet (surprise! People disagree on the internet!) about whether these supports work, so I will only speak to my experience. I ran/hiked 13 miles over very hilly terrain over the course of 3 hours and 45 minutes. I had no pain until almost 2 hours in, then minor twinges on the downhills until about the 3 hour mark, and finally some noticeable* pain on downhills for the last 45 minutes. I call that a vast improvement.
Some caveats to be aware of: I am no speed demon, so runners who can really tear it up might have different results. I walked more as the pain increased, naturally. I rolled and stretched before and after the run, of course.
Also, there is a significant mental piece to this. Even before using the IT band support, I found that if I relaxed and reminded myself to “run light and smooth”, my knee would feel better. In the last hour of this run, I sang a song in my head about how my knee didn’t hurt at all to the tune of “It’s a Small World After All”. Whatever works, right?
*noticeable meaning I thought about checking my stride