Aquatic exercise beneficial in knee and hip osteoarthritis

Clinical question: 
Are aquatic exercise interventions effective in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA)?
Bottom line: 
Aquatic exercises appear to have some beneficial short-term (3 months) effects for patients with knee and/or hip OA. Compared to no exercise or land-based exercises aquatic exercises reduced pain by 1 more point on a scale of 0 to 20 and improved function by 3 more points on a scale of 0 to 68. Based on this, aquatic exercises may be considered as the first part of a longer exercise program for OA patients.
Caveat: 
Most trials were only followed up for 3 months. The progress of damage in OA as seen on X-rays was not measured.
Context: 
Aquatic exercise is also known as “pool therapy” or “hydrotherapy”. It involves exercise in water that is heated to about 32 to 36 degrees Celsius. Exercises may include aerobic activities, stretching and strengthening, and range of motion.
Review CD#: 
CD005523
PEARLS No: 
38
Date: 
November, 2007
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy