Effect of aqua-cycling on pain and physical functioning compared with usual care in patients with knee osteoarthritis: study protocol of a randomised controlled trial

Stefanie Rewald*, Ilse Mesters, A. F. Lenssen, Pieter J. Emans, Wiel Wijnen, Rob de Bie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Over the last decade aquatic exercise has become more and more popular. One of the latest trends is aqua-cycling, where participants sit on a water-resistant stationary bike and, while immersed chest deep in the water, combine continuous cycling with upper body exercises that utilise water resistance. Since stationary cycling and aquatic exercises are frequently recommended to patients with knee osteoarthritis, combining both would seem an obvious step, and an aqua-cycling exercise programme for patients with knee osteoarthritis has indeed been developed. This study protocol gives a detailed description of the exercise programme and the methodology of a study to compare this programme with treatment involving usual care only. Methods: The study is a single-blind, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial of Maastricht University Medical Centre+, the Netherlands. Inclusion criteria: knee pain of four to seven on a 10-point pain rating scale; a Kellgren/Lawrence score between one to three; ability to cycle; good mental health; sufficient language skills; indication for physical therapy in conjunction with impairments due to OA. Exclusion criteria: any contra-indication for aquatic exercise; planned total knee replacement; corticosteroid injection
Original languageEnglish
Article number88
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2016


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Aquatic exercise
  • Aqua-cycling
  • Immersed cycling
  • Underwater cycle ergometer

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