Return to sports rate after opening wedge high tibial osteotomy in athletes



We hypothesized that patient treated with OWHTO who participate in high-impact sports would attain satisfactory outcome. The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical and radiological outcomes in a consecutive series of opening-wedge high tibial osteotomy (OWHTO) in highly active patients.


Seventy-seven consecutive patients who underwent OWHTO with varus osteoarthritic knees were included in the study. The mean age of the study population was 56.1 years. All patients were followed for a minimum of 2 years. Clinical and radiological evaluations were performed at 12 and 24 months after surgery. The clinical results were evaluated using the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) Subjective Score. In regards to radiological assessment, the following parameters were measured in full-length weightbearing radiographs both pre- and postoperatively; mechanical tibiofemoral angle (mTFA), mechanical lateral distal femoral angle (mLDFA), and weight bearing line (WBL) ratio.


Fifty-eight patients (75.3%) returned to the same high-impact sports activities as before surgery, with a mean time to return of 8.7 ± 2.7 months (6–14 months). In the clinical assessments, the IKDC subjective score and KOOS both improved from the mean preoperative scores of 38.4 and 217.4 points to the mean postoperative scores of 74.5 and 421.6 points, respectively. The mean pre-symptomatic Tegner activity scale was 5.3 ± 0.6 and significantly decreased to 4.8 ± 1.2 at 2 years postoperative (p < 0.05). In the radiological evaluation, the postoperative mTFA, mMPTA, and WBL ratio values averaged 1.3° ± 2.2° valgus, 90.7° ± 2.9°, and 51.6% ± 8.4°, respectively, at 24 months after surgery.


Clinical outcomes based on postoperative patient-reported outcome measures and rate of return to high-impact sports activities were favorable after OWHTO in patients with knee OA who desired to continue sporting activities with the Tegner activity score of  ≥ 5 points.

Level of evidence

Retrospective case series, IV.

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The authors would like to acknowledge Rebecca Imaizumi for her assistance in the preparation of this article.


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Correspondence to Tomoya Iseki.

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Kanto, R., Nakayama, H., Iseki, T. et al. Return to sports rate after opening wedge high tibial osteotomy in athletes. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 29, 381–388 (2021).

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  • Knee
  • Medial opening wedge high tibial osteotomy
  • High-impact sports
  • Athlete