The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of aquatic exercise for people with knee or hip osteoarthritis, or both, compared to no intervention.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease characterized by joint pain, tenderness, and limitation of movement. At present, no cure is available. Thus only treatment of the person’s symptoms and treatment to prevent further development of the disease are possible. Clinical trials indicate that aquatic exercise may have advantages for people with osteoarthritis. This study is an update of a published Cochrane review.
The authors searched the following databases up to 28 April 2015: the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; the Cochrane Library Issue 1, 2014), MEDLINE (from 1949), EMBASE (from 1980), CINAHL (from 1982), PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database), and Web of Science (from 1945).
There were 1190 participants across 13 trials. Most participants were female (75%), with an average age of 68 years and a body mass index (BMI) of 29.4. Osteoarthritis duration was 6.7 years, with a great variation of the included participants. The mean aquatic exercise duration was 12 weeks.
There is moderate quality evidence that aquatic exercise may have small, short-term, and clinically relevant effects on patient-reported pain, disability, and QoL in people with knee and hip OA. The conclusions of this review update does not change those of the previous published version of this Cochrane review.