Water- versus land-based treatment for postural control in postmenopausal osteoporotic women: a randomized, controlled trial

Objective: To compare the effects of water-based and land-based physical therapy on postural control of older women with osteoporosis.

Methods: Thirty-six postmenopausal women with osteoporosis were allocated into two groups: land-based or water-based. Volunteers received 12 weeks of a supervised land-based or water-based physical therapy treatment. The outcome measure was postural control of the body during quiet standing on upright stance (eyes opened and closed), tandem and one-limb stance on a force plate. A two-way ANOVA with a Tukey HSD post-hoc test were used to highlight differences between pre- and post-intervention evaluations. Effect sizes were measured with Cohen d coefficient. For all variables, a level of 5% of significance was adopted.

Results: Significant improvements at tandem (p < 0.05, effect sizes from −0.67 to −1.35) and one-limb stance (p < 0.05, effect sizes from −0.76 to −1.03) for women carrying out water-based treatment were observed. Land-based treatment did not present significant improvement.

Conclusions: Group-based water-based physical therapy treatment may be more effective than land-based therapy to improve postural control at one-limb stance in women with osteoporosis.