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Comparative analysis of gait: Similar coronal but different sagittal effects between closing-wedge and opening-wedge high tibial osteotomy.

BACKGROUND: High tibial osteotomy is an established surgical option for medial compartment osteoarthritis of the knee with varus alignment. It can be divided into open wedge and closing wedge by operative technique. Although they have fundamental differences, little is known about the biomechanical consequences of the two surgical methods.

METHODS: Thirty-eight patients with medial compartment osteoarthritis who underwent high tibial osteotomy (19 open-wedge and 19 closing-wedge) were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical scores and radiological measurements were assessed until postoperative two years. Gait analysis was performed preoperatively and again at postoperative one year.

FINDINGS: Varus alignment was corrected in both groups without a significant difference between them (p = 0.543). However, posterior tibial slope was higher, and the Blackburne-Peel ratio was lower in the open wedge osteotomy group after surgery (both p < 0.001). Reduction of dynamic knee varus and knee adduction moment were observed in both groups without significant differences. However, after surgery, average knee range of motion (63.3° vs 57.3°, p < 0.001) and the magnitude of knee flexion moment was significantly lower (p = 0.005) in the closing wedge group. There were no significant differences in the Kujala Anterior Knee Pain Scale and the occurrence of patellofemoral arthritis between the groups postoperatively.

INTERPRETATION: After osteotomy, a smaller average knee range of motion in the sagittal plane and a higher knee flexion moment were observed in the open wedge osteotomy group, suggesting quadriceps muscle avoidance. However, no differences in clinical scores or the short-term occurrence of patellofemoral arthritis were noted between the two surgical techniques.

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