Return to Work and Sport After Distal Femoral Osteotomy: A Systematic Review

Sports Health. 2022 Sep-Oct;14(5):681-686. doi: 10.1177/19417381211041072. Epub 2021 Sep 6.


Context: Distal femoral osteotomy (DFO) is a joint preservation procedure that corrects genu valgum deformities and patellofemoral maltracking, thereby restoring kinematics and unloading contact pressures in the lateral tibiofemoral and patellofemoral compartments.

Objective: To evaluate the rates of return to work (RTW) and return to sport (RTS) after DFO for valgus malalignment and lateral compartment osteoarthritis through a systematic review of the literature.

Data sources: A systematic review using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines was conducted on the PubMed, Cochrane, and Embase databases.

Study selection: The search terms femoral osteotomy AND (sports OR work) were used. Studies in which patients underwent concomitant total knee arthroplasty were excluded.

Study design: Systematic review.

Level of evidence: Level 4 (systematic review of level 4 studies).

Data extraction: Data included the number of patients, age, gender, laterality of operation, time to follow-up, rate of RTW and RTS, time to RTS, activity level on return, and activity level scores (Tegner, Marx, Lysholm, and the International Knee Documentation Committee). Risk of bias was assessed using the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS) criteria.

Results: Seven articles with 194 patients were included. The average age ranged from 19 to 49 years with a mean postoperative follow-up range of 36 to 90 months. RTW data were available for 125 patients, of whom 42.1% to 91.3% returned by final follow-up. Data on RTS were available for 149 patients, of whom 70% to 100% returned at a range of 8.3 to 16.9 months postoperatively, and 41.6% to 100% returned to the same or greater level of sports activity. The Tegner and Marx activity level scores ranged from 3 to 4 and from 5 to 11, respectively, at final follow-up.

Conclusion: Patients treated with DFO reported high rates of RTW and RTS, with most patients being able to return to recreational sport after surgery.

Keywords: distal femoral osteotomy; genu valgum; lateral compartment arthritis; return to sport; return to work.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Femur / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Knee Joint
  • Osteotomy* / methods
  • Return to Sport
  • Return to Work*