Waller (2013) Effects of a progressive aquatic resistance exercise program on the biochemical composition and morphology of cartilage in women with mild knee osteoarthritis: protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Introduction to Aquatic Resistance Exercise Research

This study aims to investigate the effects of an aquatic resistance exercise program on the biochemical composition and morphology of cartilage in postmenopausal women with mild knee osteoarthritis (OA). Aquatic exercise is recognized for its benefits in reducing OA impact, necessitating research on effective interventions to mitigate or even prevent OA progression.

Research Methodology and Design

The study will enroll a minimum of 80 postmenopausal women, aged 60-68, through local advertisements. Participants will be randomly assigned to either the aquatic exercise group or a control group. The primary outcome measures include the biochemical composition of knee cartilage assessed by quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques and regional cartilage thickness. Secondary outcomes involve assessments of body composition, bone traits, pain, physical function, and quality of life.

Exercise Program and Expected Outcomes

The intervention group will engage in a structured aquatic resistance exercise program three times weekly for four months. This program includes a warm-up, lower limb strengthening exercises, and a cool-down phase, designed to maximize neuromuscular stimulation and maintain interest. The study hypothesizes that aquatic resistance exercise will beneficially alter the biochemical composition of knee cartilage, improve physical function, and enhance quality of life in participants with mild knee OA.

Significance of the Study

This randomized controlled trial is among the first to examine the impact of aquatic exercise on human articular cartilage in individuals with knee OA. By exploring the potential benefits of aquatic exercise on cartilage health, physical function, and overall quality of life, the study aims to optimize exercise prescriptions for individuals with mild knee OA, contributing valuable insights to the field of rehabilitative medicine for OA management.

Keywords: Aquatic resistance exercise, knee osteoarthritis, cartilage health, physical function, postmenopausal women

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