I can offer my experience, though I have no idea how relevant it might be to others. I had a bad ankle injury almost 20 years ago that has given me persistent problems up that leg, including knee and IT band issues. I always do my IT band PT (basically glute medius exercises) at the end of my strength training days and I do think that staves off IT band issues, at least for <3k foot hikes. TBD on the longer ones–fingers crossed. Anyway sounds like you can never have enough butt strength for back health too so I figure it’s well worth the time.
I also always make sure to do plenty of core exercises. I have friends with back issues and I do NOT want those. The sad thing is for one of my friends, it was just a small skiing injury he had as a teen that didn’t really bother him for years but as his discs aged and compressed like all of ours do, it became debilitating. Now at 43 he can’t do any of his favorite activities. It’s really sad. So, I’ve started to focus on my at-work posture and am trying to eat as healthy and “non inflammatory” as possible since apparently this can affect your spinal discs over time.
Finally, I just invested in The Roll Model book and set of balls and I think I’m an instant convert. I’ve used foam rollers for a long time especially as I was rehabbing from my various surgeries, but they are nothing like these balls. I think I’ve already seen an improvement in my range of motion at the ankle, which is key, and because the balls are soft you can really relax into the massage instead of grimacing through it. The whole package was $78 and seeing as I pay $150 per visit for an out of network Chiro/ bodyworker, I think it was well worth the money.