Physical activity for osteoarthritis management: A randomized controlled clinical trial evaluating hydrotherapy or Tai Chi classes

Marlene Fransen, Lillias Nairn, Julie Winstanley, Paul Lam, John Edmonds

The objective of this study was to determine whether Tai Chi or hydrotherapy classes for individuals with chronic symptomatic hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) result in measurable clinical benefits.  A randomized controlled trial was conducted among 152 older persons with chronic symptomatic hip or knee OA. Participants were randomly allocated for 12 weeks to hydrotherapy classes (n = 55), Tai Chi classes (n = 56), or a waiting list control group (n = 41). Outcomes were assessed 12 and 24 weeks after randomization and included pain and physical function, general health status, psychological well-being, and physical performance.  The results showed that access to either hydrotherapy or Tai Chi classes can provide large and sustained improvements in physical function for many older, sedentary individuals with chronic hip or knee OA.

Arthritis Care & Research, Volume 57, Issue 3 , Pages 407 – 414

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