Addressing osteoarthritis pain among older adult women through aquatic therapy: A new look at shallow-water movement


  • Mark V. Saunders, PhD
  • Jennifer A. Piatt, PhD, CTRS
  • William D. Ramos, PhD
  • Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, PhD
  • Bryan P. McCormick, PhD, CTRS



aquatic-therapy, functional-movement, older-adults, osteoarthritis, pain


This study evaluated a shallow-water intervention to reduce pain among women age 61 to 81 with knee and/or hip osteoarthritis. The study used a randomized-replicated single-case two-condition crossover design to determine which condition was more effective at relieving pain. One condition was functional movements without the use of a stationary pole; the other condition, identical movements with the pole. Data were collected through repeated pain measures, pre-test-post-test measures, and retrospective pre-test post-test measures. Pain data analysis with Microsoft Excel® ExPRT 2.0 AB program generated pre- and post-crossover charts. Visual analysis findings were substantiated with sensitivity analyses of retrospective pre-test and post-test data, showing no significance between the two conditions (p ≤ 0.05). Results indicated use of a pole might not be more effective than the movement program itself. For the individual and recreation therapist, this finding might translate to cost effective recreation therapy interventions addressing clinical outcomes as a result from engagement with an aquatic RT movement program.

Author Biographies

Mark V. Saunders, PhD

Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

Jennifer A. Piatt, PhD, CTRS

Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

William D. Ramos, PhD

Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, PhD

Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

Bryan P. McCormick, PhD, CTRS

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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How to Cite

Saunders, PhD, M. V., Piatt, PhD, CTRS, J. A., Ramos, PhD, W. D., Kennedy-Armbruster, PhD, C., & McCormick, PhD, CTRS, B. P. (2018). Addressing osteoarthritis pain among older adult women through aquatic therapy: A new look at shallow-water movement. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 17(4), 37–44.




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