Original Research

The short-term effects of hydrotherapy on pain and self-perceived functional status in individuals living with osteoarthritis of the knee joint

Kganetso Sekome, Stacey Maddocks
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 75, No 1 | a476 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v75i1.476 | © 2019 Kganetso Sekome, Stacey Maddocks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 July 2018 | Published: 24 July 2019

About the author(s)

Kganetso Sekome, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Stacey Maddocks, School of Health Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: People living with knee osteoarthritis (OA) commonly present with difficulty in walking long distances, ascending and descending stairs or rising from sitting. These functional limitations have been shown to have a negative effect on their overall activities of daily living.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a 4-week hydrotherapy programme on measures of pain and self-perceived functional status in individuals living with knee OA.

Method: A total of 18 participants with chronic knee OA participated in this study. Participants completed 4 weeks of hydrotherapeutic intervention provided by an independent physiotherapist. Outcome measures for the study included pain assessed using the visual analogue scale (VAS) and self-perceived functional status using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Outcome measures were assessed at baseline and after the 4 weeks of intervention.

Results: The 4-week hydrotherapy programme resulted in a significant decrease in pain and a significant improvement in self-perceived functional status in all participants. There was a statistically significant mean decrease in VAS scores of 3.72 (± 2.45), p ≤ 0.05, with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 2.506 to 4.938. There was also a statistically significant mean decrease in WOMAC scores of 29.5 (± 15.51), p ≤ 0.05. with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 21.788 to 37.212.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that a 4-week hydrotherapeutic exercise programme results in significantly reduced pain and improved self-perceived functional status in individuals living with knee OA.

Clinical implications: Four weeks of hydrotherapy exercises twice a week in a heated pool can significantly decrease pain and improve functional status in individuals with knee OA.


Keywords

knee osteoarthritis; pain; functional status; hydrotherapy; exercise

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