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How Long After Knee Replacement Can I Drive

Why Is My Knee Throbbing After Surgery

When Can I Drive After Total Hip Or Knee Replacement

Excessive pain in the knee following arthroscopic surgery is usually due to overactivity or spending too much time on your feet before the thigh muscles have been adequately strengthened. Excessive swelling can also cause pain in the knee. It is normal for the knee to be sore and swollen following arthroscopy.

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How Long Is Rehab After Knee Replacement

Padgett said that standard recovery time for knee replacement surgery can run anywhere from two to four months. Typically, patients assigned for in-patient rehab care stay about two weeks, receiving physical therapy roughly six days per week, sometimes followed by in-home or outpatient care after they return home.

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Walk As Soon As Possible

Recovery from joint replacement surgery isnt always easy, but getting back on your feet as soon as the doctor says its okay can help you recover. Walking helps prevent complications like blood clots, improves circulation, and keeps your joints limber. You dont have to wait until you return home after surgery. Most patients can start walking while still in the hospital. Walking helps deliver important nutrients to your knee to help you heal and recover. You can expect to use a walker for the first couple of weeks. Most patients can walk on their own roughly four to eight weeks after knee replacement.

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Advice On Driving After Total Knee Replacement

When you get the green light from your orthopedic surgeon, drive with extra caution. Reaction times and braking forces can be diminished for several months following total knee arthroplasty, changing your ability to drive as you did before surgery.

If you experience any pain while driving or have difficulty braking, let someone else take the wheel. Your joint probably needs more time to heal.

Do you have more questions about recovering from total knee arthroplasty? Dr. Trevor H. Magee at Comprehensive Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, one of Utahs leading experts in knee and hip replacement procedures, can provide expert advice on the right steps to take for a smoother, easier surgery recovery.

For more information, contact one of our convenient northern Utah offices and schedule a consultation for a total knee replacement with Dr. Magee today.

Can A Knee Replacement Patient Play Sports

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Many patients find that they are more active after their knee replacement. Their old, arthritic knees kept them sedentary, and their new, artificial knees allow them to be more active.

Whether and when a patient can return to a specific sport depends on the patient, the type of knee replacement surgery, the knee prostheses, and the sport. In general:

  • Swimming, cycling, and golfing are safe .
  • Jogging and basketball and other sports that are likely to put pressure on the new knee are not safe, as they may cause the prostheses to wear out prematurely.
  • Certain sports, such as doubles tennis, may be played at a relaxed pace.
  • Downhill skiing, skating, and other sports with a risk of falling may be resumed cautiously only by patients who:
    • Were proficient at the sports before surgery
    • Understand the risks

Patients are advised to consult with their surgeons about specific athletic goals.

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Can I Get A Blood Clot After Tkr Surgery If I Fly

Many people are concerned about blood clots when flying after surgery. My doctor said that it was not necessary to wear compression socks or to take any kind of special medication.

Even if you dont need them, compression socks are a good preventative measure to protect from blood clots . For longer flights, compression socks might be a wise idea.

My doctor advised me to take an aspirin daily the first 6 weeks after TKR . I continued to take an aspirin daily until I returned from my trip. He said it was important to move around on the flight and not to drink alcohol.

What Is The Recovery Time For Knee Replacement Surgery

Patients heal from surgery at different rates. In most cases, you will be limited to the use of a walker or crutches for approximately 2-4 weeks. As you continue to improve you will transition to using a cane when out of the house and no supportive device around the house for several weeks. You will gradually return to normal function without any assistive devices. This usually takes approximately 3 months but may take more or less time depending on your preoperative level of health and function.

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Playing Golf After Knee Replacement

If you are an avid golfer who is having a knee replacement, you should use precautions when returning to your sport. While most surgeons will not tell you to avoid golf, it can place extra stress on your new knee. Being diligent in your rehabilitation and making some modifications may help reduce the risks.

Should I Apply Heat Or Ice

How Soon Can You Drive after Knee Replacement?

While in the hospital and for several weeks after surgery, ice is most helpful to keep down swelling. In the hospital you should have ice applied to your knee at least 2-3 times daily. At home the most convenient ice bag is a bag of frozen peas that will conform easily to your knee and can be frozen. A warm towel placed around your knee prior to therapy sessions may help loosen up your knee, and ice may be used after therapy to cool the joint down.

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Will I Need Physical Therapy

Yes. Physical therapy plays a very important role in your recovery. You will be seen by a physical therapist soon after your surgery and throughout your hospital stay. Once you are discharged from the hospital you will continue to go to a therapy center close to home 2-3 times a week for about a month. If your in-hospital recovery is somewhat slower than typical you may need to spend some time building up your strength at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. The hospital case managers will assist in making those arrangements if necessary.

When Can You Drive After Surgery

You should not drive on the day of your outpatient surgical procedure. Most hospitals will require that a family member or friend is present at discharge to drive you home. Studies have shown that a person usually has some form of motor deficit following general anaesthesia for 24 hours following a procedure driving should therefore not be undertaken until at least this time. Furthermore, some strong pain relieving medications can remain in the body for extended time periods and most people should not return to driving until at least 24 hours after this pain relieving medication has stopped.

Most patients do not drive until after their first post-operative visit , although some patients may return to driving before this point. When considering a return to driving, it is important to consider the following points:

  • Coordination and reflexes may be slightly impaired for several weeks after surgery.
  • You must recover adequate muscle control for braking and accelerating before you try to drive.

Listed below are typical times after surgery when patients resume driving. Please note that this is a rough guide only, as each patient is different.

  • Simple knee arthroscopy 1 week
  • ACL reconstruction 4-6 weeks
  • Periacetabular osteotomy 8-12 weeks

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Characteristics Of Severe Arthritis Of The Knee

Pain

Pain is the most noticeable symptom of knee arthritis. In most patients the knee pain gradually gets worse over time but sometimes has more sudden flares where the symptoms get acutely severe. The pain is almost always worsened by weight-bearing and activity. In some patients the knee pain becomes severe enough to limit even routine daily activities.

Stiffness

Morning stiffness is present in certain types of arthritis. Patients with morning stiffness of the knee may notice some improvement in knee flexibility over the course of the day. Rheumatoid arthritis patients may experience more frequent morning stiffness than patients with osteoarthritis.

Swelling and warmth

Patients with arthritis sometimes will notice swelling and warmth of the knee. If the swelling and warmth are excessive and are associated with severe pain, inability to bend the knee, and difficulty with weight-bearing, those signs might represent an infection. Such severe symptoms require immediate medical attention. Joint infection of the knee is discussed below.

Location

The knee joint has three compartments that can be involved with arthritis . Most patients have both symptoms and findings on X-rays that suggest involvement of two or more of these compartments for example, pain on the lateral side and beneath the kneecap . Patients who have arthritis in two or all three compartments, and who decide to get surgery, most often will undergo total knee replacement .

Under What Conditions Should I Seek Medical Advice Post

When can you drive after surgery? Hip, knee, ankle or foot ...

Any condition which is new or out of the ordinary for your total knee is worth at least a phone call, an office visit, or possibly a trip to the Emergency Room. Prolonged fever greater than 102 degrees, increasing or worsening pain in your knee, increasing or worsening redness in your knee, increasing or smelly drainage from your incision, worsening calf pain and swelling, chest pain and shortness of breath are all conditions which warrant immediate medical advice.

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What Are The Risks And Complications Of Revision Knee Replacement

Any surgery can have potential complications. The complexity of revision joint surgery increases the chance of surgical complications, which include but are not limited to:

  • wound drainage
  • damage to nerves or blood vessels
  • intra-operative fractures
  • pulmonary embolism

Infection, bleeding, damage to nerves or blood vessels, and intra-operative fractures can be minimized by using antibiotics before and after surgery, employing sterile surgical techniques and utilizing well-planned surgical exposures. Patients who are obese are particularly at increased risk of infection and wound drainage issues post operatively.

Similar to primary knee replacement, some mild swelling of the knee or ankle may be present after surgery for as long as three to six months. Swelling can be treated by elevating the leg, applying an ice pack, and wearing compression stockings.

Prior medical conditions, such as heart and lung complications or stroke conditions, can be aggravated by a revision procedure. These conditions may also develop in patients after revision surgery. Very rarely, death can occur. The decision to perform revision joint surgery is made when the benefits of pain relief and functional improvement outweigh the risk of potential complications.

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How Soon Can You Drive After Knee Replacement

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After total knee replacement surgery, most patients experience better mobility and function with less pain. As my patients get back to daily activities, they often ask me How soon can I drive after my knee replacement surgery?

The answer depends on a number of factors. There are temporary driving restrictions for the safety of my patients and their loved ones.

Do not drive if youre on narcotic medication. Narcotic pain medication can negatively affect your mental alertness and reaction time.

Your ability to drive also depends on which knee was replaced. With a left total knee replacement, you may be able to drive an automatic transmission vehicle in as little as two weeks without the use of narcotics. If you drive a manual transmission car or truck, it will take a few weeks longer before your left leg is strong enough to operate the clutch.

For a right total knee replacement, driving isnt recommended for at least four weeks or longer. This ultimately depends on how soon you regain your pre-surgical reflexes and muscle strength.

Be sure to take extra precautions when you approach a green light as your breaking speed may be altered for several weeks after the surgery. If you do experience pain in the knee while driving, consult your surgeon immediately. It may be an indication that you havent healed well enough to drive yet.

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Driving After A Total Knee Replacement

Hi everyone. After receiving some requests regarding driving after a total knee replacement , I thought a post here would be appropriate

The standard literature us patients are given upon preparing for a tkr recommends not driving until at least 6 weeks after surgery. I had no choice but to do it sooner, however.

The reason being is that I needed to go to physical therapy and didnt want to impose upon anyone for a lift. Besides, I like to drive and wanted to experiment as long as I didnt harm myself.

Well, I can definitely see how six weeks is an appropriate time frame if the leg you use for the accelerator is the one that had a total knee replacement.

For instance, if your bionic knee is on your right leg, youre going to have difficulty driving. There just wont be enough flexibility to operate the accelerator, in my opinion.

However, my bionic knee is on my left leg. I could operate the accelerator with no problem. There were other problems as mentioned below.

If my car was clutch-operated, there was no way I could have driven it within six weeks. Maybe after about 4-6 weeks, but even then there would have been extreme discomfort. Hey, driving a clutch might be another good recuperation exercise.

My car has an automatic transmission. I had a problem, with the following while driving after a total knee replacement. You may be the same:

  • Time involved. It definitely is not a quick process. The entire process is much slower than typical.

Guidelines For Driving After Total Hip Replacement

Driving After a Knee Replacement: When is it Safe?

Imagine not being able to drive to work, to run errands, to concerts or movies, or to visit friends and family. At first this might seem like a nice break from your hectic pace of life. After all, riding the bus can be fun, and you can catch up on your reading.

But what if you live in a place where theres no bus service? Now imagine youve had a total hip replacement and cant walk to the bus stop or step up on the bus. Suddenly the value of driving increases more than ever. How soon can you get back behind the wheel after a THR?

Many doctors advise waiting four to six weeks. This gives the soft tissues a chance to heal. However, no one knows if this is a safe recommendation. To help with this decision-making process, a group of physical therapists studied 90 patients after THR. They measured the patients reaction time. Reaction time is how long it takes for the patient to react to a red traffic light and brake the car.

A driving simulator system with an automatic timer was used. Only English-speaking drivers with a current license were included in the study. The cars had to have an automatic transmission. Patients used the right foot for the gas and brake. Patients ranged in age from 34 to 85 years. Patients reaction times after THR were compared to normal reaction times published by the American Automobile Association .

  • Patients may resume driving an automatic car after one week when theleft hip has been replaced .
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    Flying After Knee Replacement Surgery

    After knee replacement surgery youll be struggling to move around. Dont worry, if everything goes well youll recover quickly and although it may seem like time is moving slowly, youll be able to travel within a couple months.

    One of the most common questions I get is about flying after knee replacement surgery. People want to plan travel after TKR surgery and arent sure about the length of time before they can travel and fly.

    Maybe they want to attend a wedding, visit family, or just go on vacation. In each case, youll need to be careful to follow your doctors advice and do your best to work hard with physical therapy after surgery.

    If youre in good shape going into surgery, and if the surgery goes well, you should be able to fly within 10 weeks of surgery. In this article, Ill share my experience flying 10 weeks after undergoing a total knee replacement.

    I took precautions when scheduling my flight and reserving my seat. These included

    • Getting an aisle seat so that I could stretch my right leg
    • Getting TSA pre-approved so that I did not have to stand in long lines

    Standing for long periods was always difficult as I always put the majority of my weight on my good leg. I felt much better moving even though each step caused some pain.

    My first flight post-TKR surgery turned out to be a pleasant experience and Ill share some tips that should make your flight more comfortable after knee surgery.

    What Are Some Good And Bad Positions For My Knee During Recovery

    You should spend some time each day working on flexion and extension of the knee. Although it may be more comfortable, you should NOT use a pillow.

    Early on after surgery it is important to keep the knee as straight as possible except when specifically working on bending. Flexion will continue to improve over the first several weeks post-operatively, but extension is often maximized after the first couple of weeks.

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    Possible Benefits Of Total Knee Replacement Surgery

    Regardless of whether a traditional total knee replacement or a minimally-invasive partial knee replacement is performed the goals and possible benefits are the same: relief of pain and restoration of function.

    The large majority of total knee replacement patients experience substantial or complete relief of pain once they have recovered from the procedure. The large majority walk without a limp and most dont require a cane, even if they used one before the surgery. It is quite likely that you know someone with a knee replacement who walks so well that you dont know he even had surgery!

    Frequently the stiffness from arthritis is also relieved by the surgery. Very often the distance one can walk will improve as well because of diminished pain and stiffness. The enjoyment of reasonable recreational activities such as golf, dancing, traveling, and swimming almost always improves following total knee replacement.

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