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The aim of this prospective randomised study was to compare the time course of clinical improvement during the first two years following a closing or opening wedge high tibial osteotomy (HTO). It was hypothesised that there would be no differences in clinical outcome between the two techniques.Between 2007 and 2013, 70 consecutive patients were randomly allocated to undergo either a closing or opening wedge HTO. All patients had medial compartment osteoarthritis (OA), and were aged between 30 years and 60 years. They were evaluated by independent investigators pre-operatively and at three and six months, and one and two years postoperatively using the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), the Oxford Knee Score (OKS), the Lysholm score, the Tegner activity score, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) activity scale and range of movement (ROM).There were no significant differences at any time between the two techniques for any clinical outcome score (p > 0.05). The mean scores for all the systems, except UCLA and Tegner, significantly improved until six months post-operatively (p < 0.001). For some scores, the improvement continued until one and two years.This prospective randomised study suggests that there are no differences in the time course of the clinical improvement between the closing and opening wedge techniques for HTO during the first two post-operative years. Patients can expect continued improvement in physical function for between six months and one year after HTO regardless of the technique used.