A recent review of Literature and research into the effects of hydrotherapy in hip and knee pain found the following:
Hydrotherapy is beneficial prior to surgery
- In 2009 Gill et al found that land based and pool based exercise can improve both pain and physical function in patients with OA of the hip or knee.
- Those participants who completed the pool based exercise had less pain immediately after the session and the next day, compared to the land based exercise group.
- Providing home based exercises outlined by a physiotherapist was found to give further improvement.
- This can provide significant benefits for patients who are trying to delay the need for a joint replacement, but also for those awaiting surgery.
Hydrotherapy is beneficial immediately after joint replacement
- In 2009 Rahmann et al identified the benefits of commencing hydrotherapy exercise immediately after hip and knee replacement surgery.
- Hydrotherapy assisted joint range of movement, pain and reduced swelling.
- It was proposed that this occurred due to changes in the autonomic and circulatory systems when in water.
- It was found that specific hydrotherapy exercises guided by a physiotherapist provided better results than increased treatment on the ward or generalised hydrotherapy.
- Improved mobility after 14 days was noted in the specific hydrotherapy group compared to the groups who had not received the hydrotherapy program.
- No adverse effects were reported throughout the study and appropriate care was taken with all surgical wounds.
- The conclusions from the research indicate that patients can gain a significant advantage to their recovery when commencing hydrotherapy after a joint replacement.
Lifecare physiotherapists would be happy to discuss any of your patients hydrotherapy needs.
It is advised that anyone undertaking a hydrotherapy program undergo a full assessment prior to commencing in the pool, and receive an individualised program provided by their physiotherapist.
Gill SD, McBurney H, Schulz DL. Land-based versus pool-based exercise for people awaiting joint replacement surgery of the hip or knee: results of a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2009; 90: 388-394
Rahmann AE, Brauer SG, Nitz JC. A specific inpatient aquatic physiotherapy program improves strength after total hip or knee replacement surgery: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2009; 90: 745 -755