Repository logo

Fall risk in older adults with hip osteoarthritis : decreasing risk through education and aquatic exercise



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Degree Level



Purpose: The primary purpose of this project was to determine the effect of aquatic exercise and aquatic exercise combined with an education group program on decreasing both psychosocial and physical fall risk factors in community-dwelling older adults with hip osteoarthritis (OA). Secondary purposes were to 1) describe fall risk, history and nature of falls and near-falls in older adults with hip OA, 2) determine the association of the timed up and go test (TUG) to history of falls and near-falls, 4) explore the relationship of both psychosocial and physical factors to history of falls and near-falls, and 5) evaluate the role of falls-efficacy in predicting balance performance. Methods: Participants were recruited from the community and screened for presence of hip osteoarthritis and fall risk. Baseline fall history and a battery of measures for balance, muscle strength, functional ability and falls-efficacy were administered. Participants were then randomly assigned to one of three groups: Aquatic Exercise, Aquatic Exercise and Education or a Control Group. The interventions were twice per week for 11 weeks. Fall risk factors were measured after 11 weeks. Study 1 described history of falls and near-falls and evaluated the association of the TUG screening test with fall and near-fall history. Study 2 summarized the relationships of physical and psychosocial fall risk factors and identified the primary predictors of fall risk, based on associations with fall history. Study 3 evaluated the randomized controlled clinical trial comparing the impact of the interventions (aquatic exercise and education) on fall risk outcomes. Results: Older adults with hip OA reported a high frequency of falls and near-falls. The TUG, using a cut-off score of 10 sec., was associated with frequent near-fall history. There was a strong association of frequent near-falls to history of actual falls, with the association increasing 7-fold if lower falls-efficacy was present. Falls-efficacy was also an independent predictor of balance impairment. Screening for history of near-falls and falls-efficacy may be important in predicting risk of future falls. The combination of Aquatic Exercise and Education improved falls-efficacy and functional mobility compared to Aquatic Exercise only or no intervention. Aquatic Exercise on its own was not effective in decreasing fall risk factors or improving falls-efficacy. Significance of Findings: The accumulation of both physical and psychosocial risk factors in older adults with hip OA increases their vulnerability to falls and injury. Fall prevention programs for this population should be designed to include both exercise and education to address falls-efficacy and physical fall risk factors.



Accidental falls, Balance, Self-efficacy, Arthritis, Confidence, Elderly



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Kinesiology


College of Kinesiology


Part Of