In a recent study, a group of health professionals discovered an increase in positive results from aquatic therapy for patients with lower limb osteoarthritis. Due to added buoyancy and reduced loading at the joints when in water, patients were able to complete exercises easier than on land. Progression with aquatic exercises in weight bearing position tend to be easier on patients with chronic and acute pain. Other options for osteoarthritis include pharmacological, non-pharmacological (land based, weight loss, aerobic exercises) and surgical intervention. All of which have studies proving good results with time. Aquatic therapy has shown within our practice to be a stepping stone towards increased tolerance of land based exercises, aerobic exercises and weight loss control. Typically if patients show significant difficulty with land based exercises we will do a trial of aquatic therapy until they are able to bear increased weight throughout limbs.
January 2007 vol. 87 no. 1 32-43Physical Therapy