How to Recover From a Fulkerson Osteotomy

Updated April 17, 2017

A Fulkerson osteotomy -- or patellar stabilisation -- is often performed on patients who have experienced multiple knee dislocations. The procedure is minimally invasive and involves moving the bony attachment of the knee tendon to a more forward positioning. The bony attachment is secured with two screws. This allows for normal movement and the prevention of dislocation. Recovery following a Fulkerson osteotomy involves pain and swelling control along with returning to a normal range of motion and strength. Following your doctor's instructions closely will make for a smooth recovery.

Keep your affected leg elevated. Use two pillows to elevate your entire leg above heart level. This should be done as often as possible during the first few days after surgery.

Wear your knee brace. Your knee brace is designed to protect your knee while your incision heals and your knee becomes stronger. Use your knee brace as directed by your surgeon.

Ice your leg. Use an ice pack or place crushed ice in a plastic zipper bag. Apply over your knee for 20 minutes at a time, no more than three times per day.

Take your pain medication as prescribed. Only take it as often as is necessary. Do not take medication just because the clock says it is time.

Bear weight as you can tolerate it. Don't push past your tolerance, especially for the first four weeks following surgery. Use crutches to aid you with walking.

Attend physiotherapy when instructed by your doctor. Physiotherapy will focus on quadriceps and hamstring strengthening -- in the early stages -- to help maintain muscle strength. A physical therapist will then work with you on range of motion and flexibility. This will help restore normal function to your knee. Complete exercises as directed by a physical therapist at home.

Return to work and normal activity. Resume your normal lifestyle when you receive clearance from your surgeon.


Keep your surgical dresses dry. Do not bathe, swim or soak your knee until instructed by your doctor. This is normally two to three weeks following your surgery.


If you experience excessive pain, swelling, redness or drainage, contact your physician. Also call your physician if you experience calf pain, foot numbness or leg weakness. These are signs of potential complications or infections.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice
  • Pain medication
  • Crutches
  • Knee brace
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About the Author

Michelle Zehr started writing professionally in 2009. She has written on health, fitness, fashion, interior design, home decorating,sports and finance for several websites. Zehr possesses a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in professional writing from Chatham University and a graduate certificate in health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.