Health Team

Water aerobics can reduce pain for osteoarthritis patients

Posted January 29, 2013 5:43 p.m. EST
Updated January 29, 2013 6:37 p.m. EST

Osteoarthritis patient Massoud Mofid has been taking a water workout class for 15 years to help with his osteoarthritis.

“The pain was mainly down in the knees” Mofid said. “I was able to walk perhaps at first, two to three blocks, and then it shrank to almost one block.”

New research from the University of Minnesota School Of Public Health shows that certain types of exercise may help knee osteoarthritis more than others.

“If you do strengthening exercises, if you do low impact aerobic exercise, if you do some aquatic exercise you can improve your life, and you can improve your quality of life and reduce your pain,” said Vanderbilt Sports Medicine Center Director Dr. Kurt Spindler.

The Arthritis Foundation sponsors exercise programs across the country for thousands of people coping with arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States. Doctors say sticking to an exercise program is key to relieving pain and improving mobility.

“If you move the knee and get the knee moving gently, under low loads, it is very healthy for your tissues around the knees – both your arthritis as well as your tendons and ligaments,” Spindler said.

Longtime osteoarthritis sufferer Kit McCormick agrees working out in the pool helps her stay active.

“I’m doing things in the water that I cannot do on land, but when I get out of the water, it's wonderful,” McCormick said.

Dr. Mask says that proving the right, consistent exercise program can make all the difference.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every two people may develop osteoarthritis in their knee over their lifetime.