Wyatt (2001) The effects of aquatic and traditional exercise programs on persons with knee osteoarthritis

The study explored the effectiveness of aquatic versus land-based exercise programs for individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Participants, aged between 45 and 70, were divided into two groups to undergo these exercise regimens. Measurements taken before and after the programs included knee range of motion, thigh girth, subjective pain levels, and time to walk a mile. Results showed significant improvements in all areas for both groups, with no notable difference between the two in most measures. However, the aquatic group reported significantly lower pain levels, highlighting the potential benefits of water-based exercises for osteoarthritis patients.


The purpose of the study was to detect if increases in functional levels for patients with osteoarthritis show differences between an aquatic exercise program and a land-based exercise program. Forty-six subjects between the ages of 45 and 70 years participated in 1 of 2 exercise groups. Pre- and post-
test measurements included knee range of motion (ROM), thigh girth, subjective pain scale, and time for a 1-mile walk. Both exercise groups showed a significant (p < 0.05) increase in all measurements between pre- and posttests. There were no significant differences between the aquatic exercise group
and the land-based exercise group pertaining to knee ROM, thigh girth, and time for a 1-mile walk. Subjective pain levels were significantly less in the aquatic group when compared with the land-based group. This study concludes that both aquatic and land-based exercise programs are beneficial to
patients with osteoarthritis.

Keywords: Osteoarthritis, Aquatic Exercise, Land-Based Exercise, Functional Levels, Pain Reduction

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