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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Laurie Lundy-Ekman, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Nancy Cicirello, MPH, PT


Persons with osteoarthritis (OA) participate in two common exercise programs, mall walking and aquatic exercise. Because the incidence of OA and the popularity of these exercise programs are on the rise, it is vital that more research be conducted so that persons with this chronic condition may be informed regarding the disease and treatment options. Unfortunately, a lack of research exists on the benefits of aquatic exercise. This study compared characteristics of people with OA who participate in aquatic or mall walking programs. These characteristics included referral source, functional level, pain level, number of days of exercise missed due to pain, perceived well-being and knowledge of OA. The results showed a significantly (p<.05) greater percentage of persons in the aquatic group being referred to the exercise program by a health professional and the aquatic group also had a significantly (p<.05) lower level of function on specific activities of daily living (ADLs) compared to the mall walking group.


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