The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of aquatic exercise on pain, gait, and balance among elderly patients with knee osteoarthritis.
We performed a randomized controlled trial at a university hospital. Overall, 32 men with knee osteoarthritis, aged ≥ 60 years, were included. Pain, balance, and gait were evaluated before and 2 months after interventions. The group control used acetaminophen and followed lifestyle recommendations. The intervention group performed the aquatic exercise three sessions per week for 8 weeks.
At the end of the study, mean pain scores were significantly different between the groups (p = 0.010). Within-group analyses showed that group intervention experienced significant pain relief (p = 0.019), whereas group control did not show the significant change (p = 0.493). There was significant improvement in favor of aquatic exercise with regard to static (p = 0.001) and dynamic (p = 0.001) balance, step length (p = 0.038), stride length (p < 0.001), and cadence (p < 0.001). However, we did not find a significant difference in step time and width between the two groups.
Aquatic exercise would be beneficial in decreasing subjective pain of osteoarthritis. There are some recognizable improvements in patients’ gait and balance as well.