8 Week Low Grade Knee Osteoarthritis Return to Run Program

8 Week Low Grade Knee Osteoarthritis Return to Run Program

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint condition characterized by the gradual breakdown of cartilage within the knee joint, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

Affecting millions of people worldwide (OA) is a prevalent and debilitating condition. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the knee joint gradually wears away, causing the bones to rub against each other. This friction leads to pain, inflammation, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion.

The LEVER system allows users to walk or run with reduced impact on their joints, making it an excellent tool for those with knee OA who are looking to maintain or improve their fitness levels while minimizing pain and discomfort. 

Here's how the LEVER can help someone with knee osteoarthritis:


  1. Reduced joint stress: By providing adjustable body weight support (from 1 to 45 lbs off your body weight), the LEVER reduces the load on the knee joint, decreasing the stress and impact experienced during walking or running. This can help alleviate pain and minimize further joint damage in individuals with knee OA.
  2. Improved mobility and function: The reduced joint stress offered by the LEVER allows users to perform exercises at a higher intensity and for longer durations than they might be able to without support ton the treadmill. This can lead to improved muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility, which can help support and stabilize the knee joint, ultimately enhancing mobility and function.
  3. Rehabilitation: The LEVER system can be an integral part of a rehabilitation program for individuals with knee OA, as it allows them to gradually progress through their recovery. As the patient's strength and function improve, they can gradually increase the percentage of body weight they bear during exercises, easing the transition back to full weight-bearing activities.

In summary, LEVER system can be a valuable tool for individuals with knee osteoarthritis, as it provides body weight support, reduces joint stress, and promotes improved mobility and function. It can be used as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program or to maintain fitness levels while minimizing pain and discomfort associated with knee OA.

LEVER Return to Run for Low Grade Knee Osteoarthritis 

Criteria to start:

  1. Clearance by your Physician or Physical Therapist who is helping you manage your injury.
  2. Able to walk 30 minutes on level ground with no pain or very little pain.
  3. Note: With any BSI, it is important to explore the underlying causes which are often multifactorial. Factors include: Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, Low energy availability, endocrine and hormonal function including menstrual irregularities , training load errors, strength deficits, biomechanics. 


* The goal of this program is to prepare you to initiate a gradual overground running program. The program may need to be slowed down by repeating a week until you are able to progress to the next. At the end of this program, you may start some overground running in small doses as directed by your physical therapist while continuing to use the Lever System. Depending on your symptoms and goals, using the Lever several days per week may be an excellent way to manage your knee joint health in conjunction with other forms of aerobic exercise and strength training.

  • 5 minutes of walking in the Lever System on the treadmill as warm up before each Lever Run
  • Strength training as directed by a physical therapist. Best performed as a separate session from running spread out by 4 hours or more. Or on low-impact cross training days. However, it may still be performed directly before or after running if that is the only time available.
  • Pain Monitoring Model and Soreness Rules should guide your individual progression.

Plan by Kurt Roeser: 

Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical therapy. 

Kurt Roeser is the physical therapist behind BOULDER RUN PHYSIO, Ability Physical Therapy's Niwot location. He is passionate about staying up to date with current research and providing high quality physical therapy care to help individuals get out of pain and improve their function in daily life and athletics. 

Liability Disclaimer: This plan provides general educational information only and is not medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The provider of this plan is not responsible for any advice or information obtained through this plan. Always consult a physician for medical questions.