Dr. Lam received royalties from the sale of Tai Chi for Arthritis video/DVD and a book titled Overcoming Arthritis.
Physical activity for osteoarthritis management: A randomized controlled clinical trial evaluating hydrotherapy or Tai Chi classes†
Article first published online: 29 MAR 2007
Copyright © 2007 by the American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis Care & Research
Volume 57, Issue 3, pages 407–414, 15 April 2007
How to Cite
Fransen, M., Nairn, L., Winstanley, J., Lam, P. and Edmonds, J. (2007), Physical activity for osteoarthritis management: A randomized controlled clinical trial evaluating hydrotherapy or Tai Chi classes. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 57: 407–414. doi: 10.1002/art.22621
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00123994
- Issue published online: 29 MAR 2007
- Article first published online: 29 MAR 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 AUG 2006
- Manuscript Received: 4 JUN 2006
- National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Conditions Improvements grant
- University of New South Wales
- St. George Division of General Practice
- Central Sydney Division of General Practice
- Tai Chi;
To determine whether Tai Chi or hydrotherapy classes for individuals with chronic symptomatic hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) result in measurable clinical benefits.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted among 152 older persons with chronic symptomatic hip or knee OA. Participants were randomly allocated for 12 weeks to hydrotherapy classes (n = 55), Tai Chi classes (n = 56), or a waiting list control group (n = 41). Outcomes were assessed 12 and 24 weeks after randomization and included pain and physical function (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index), general health status (Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 12 Health Survey [SF-12], version 2), psychological well-being, and physical performance (Up and Go test, 50-foot walk time, timed stair climb).
At 12 weeks, compared with controls, participants allocated to hydrotherapy classes demonstrated mean improvements (95% confidence interval) of 6.5 (0.4, 12.7) and 10.5 (3.6, 14.5) for pain and physical function scores (range 0–100), respectively, whereas participants allocated to Tai Chi classes demonstrated improvements of 5.2 (−0.8, 11.1) and 9.7 (2.8, 16.7), respectively. Both class allocations achieved significant improvements in the SF-12 physical component summary score, but only allocation to hydrotherapy achieved significant improvements in the physical performance measures. All significant improvements were sustained at 24 weeks. In this almost exclusively white sample, class attendance was higher for hydrotherapy, with 81% attending at least half of the available 24 classes, compared with 61% for Tai Chi.
Access to either hydrotherapy or Tai Chi classes can provide large and sustained improvements in physical function for many older, sedentary individuals with chronic hip or knee OA.