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How Long After Right Knee Replacement Can You Drive

Quit Your Breathing Exercises

Driving After a Knee Replacement: When is it Safe?

If you’ve had surgery on your belly, heart, lung, or spine, your doctor may give you exercises to help your lungs recover from anesthesia, the medicine that kept you pain-free during the operation.

“Doing breathing exercises is very, very important,” Whiteson says. It expands your lungs and removes mucus that gathers there. Don’t quit until your doctor says you can stop.

To keep your recovery humming along, follow your doctor’s directions. As Saggio knows well, taking things into your own hands can slow down the healing.

“I was a little stoic. I definitely rushed my recovery,” he says. Next time, perhaps, he’ll take that extra week off.

What I Wish Id Done/had For Flying After Tkr

  • I wish I had known beforehand that I could qualify for the early boarding group. I wouldnt have worried about getting a comfortable seat.
  • In hindsight, I would have chosen an airline that offered premium economy seating with extra legroom.
  • Even though I had a comfortable traveling experience I might have scheduled my trip long after the surgery so that I didnt worry that I was cutting it close.
  • How Soon Can You Drive After Knee Replacement

    Posted on:

    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.

    Recommended Reading: What Causes Your Knee To Lock Up

    Looking After Your New Knee

    • continue to take any prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatories to help manage any pain and swelling
    • use your walking aids but aim to gradually decrease the amount you rely on them as your leg feels stronger
    • keep up your exercises to help prevent stiffness, but do not force your knee
    • do not sit with your legs crossed for the first 6 weeks after your operation
    • do not put a pillow underneath your knee when sleeping as this can result in a permanently bent knee
    • avoid twisting at your knee
    • wear supportive shoes outdoors
    • do not kneel on your operated knee until your surgeon says you can
    • raise your leg when sitting and apply an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel for 20 minutes every 3 or 4 hours to reduce any swelling

    Page last reviewed: 02 August 2019 Next review due: 02 August 2022

    Preparation For Total Knee Replacement Surgery

    When can you drive after knee or ankle surgery?

    Patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery usually will undergo a pre-operative surgical risk assessment. When necessary, further evaluation will be performed by an internal medicine physician who specializes in pre-operative evaluation and risk-factor modification. Some patients will also be evaluated by an anesthesiologist in advance of the surgery.

    Routine blood tests are performed on all pre-operative patients. Chest X-rays and electrocardiograms are obtained in patients who meet certain age and health criteria as well.

    Surgeons will often spend time with the patient in advance of the surgery, making certain that all the patient’s questions and concerns, as well as those of the family, are answered.


    The surgeon’s office should provide a reasonable estimate of:

    • the surgeon’s fee
    • the degree to which these should be covered by the patient’s insurance.

    Total Knee Replacement Surgical Team

    The total knee requires an experienced orthopedic surgeon and the resources of a large medical center. Some patients have complex medical needs and around surgery often require immediate access to multiple medical and surgical specialties and in-house medical, physical therapy, and social support services.

    Finding an experienced surgeon to perform your total knee replacement

    Some questions to consider asking your knee surgeon:

    • Are you board certified in orthopedic surgery?
    • Have you done a fellowship in joint replacement surgery?
    • How many knee replacements do you do each year?

    Recommended Reading: Can You Rebuild Cartilage In Your Knee

    Knee Replacement Surgery Aftercare In Missouri

    The experts at Advanced Bone & Joint have been taking care of musculoskeletal needs of patients since the 1980s. Our services include pain management, joint replacement procedures, sports medicine, general orthopedics, and much more. If you do need surgery, we will support you until you have completely recovered.

    You may contact us at 229-4222 for your inquiries or to schedule an appointment. You may also request an appointment through our secure online form.

    When You Should Not Drive After Acl Surgery

    Firstly, do not drive yourself home after ACL surgery as your reaction times are likely to be impaired. Arrange a lift home from the hospital such as through a family member or friend.

    As a general rule you should not drive a car for 48 hours after an anaesthetic or if you are taking narcotic pain medication.

    In the coming weeks post-surgery, if you are wearing a brace or cast on your right leg then it goes without saying that this is going to impact your reaction times driving a car.

    It is fairly obvious that you should not be driving under those circumstances where your ability to brake in the car is restricted.

    Narcotic pain medication can make you feel drowsy and groggy and therefore you should not drive if you are taking this medication during the daytime.

    Preference would be to take the pain killer medication at night to help you sleep.

    Before you drive after ACL surgery check your car insurance policy

    It is also advised that you check with your car insurance company prior to driving your car in case there are periods of restriction after knee surgery written into your insurance policy that you may not be aware of.

    Also Check: Flying After Knee Replacement Surgery

    Exercise And Physical Activity

    The final phase of recovery, as Dr. Parks considers it, is returning to exercises and extra activities, including hiking and biking. It typically takes eight to 12 weeks to get to this phase, he says.

    In terms of full knee replacement recovery, patients generally need a year to completely heal and regain total function.

    After a couple of years, you forget that youve even had knee surgery, says Barnes, who would go on to have her left knee replaced a year after the surgery on her right. Before surgery I couldnt garden. Now I walk, snow shoe, and climb ladders. I do what I want and dont have pain.

    I Feel Depressed Is This Normal

    Outpatient Total Knee Replacement, what can I expect right after surgery?

    It is not uncommon to have feelings of depression after surgery. This may be due to a variety of factors, such as limited mobility, discomfort, temporary increased dependency on other and medication side effects. Feelings of depression will typically fade as you begin to return to more regular activities and social functions.

    Also Check: Nano Knee Replacement Surgery

    How Soon Can You Drive After Knee Replacement Surgery

    Posted on:

    A very common question individuals who undergo knee replacement surgery have is How soon can you drive after knee replacement surgery?

    Most patients experience better mobility and function in the knee as well as less pain with routine activities of daily living such as getting in and out of a car or driving after the procedure. However, certain temporary restrictions are necessary for the patients safety and that of their loved ones.

    Here are a few guidelines as to how soon after knee replacement surgery you can expect to get behind the wheel and ride yourself to work or activities you enjoy:

    Narcotic medication: You should not consider driving as long as you are on narcotic pain medication as they negatively affect your mental alertness and reaction time.

    Left total knee replacement: If you are not on narcotic medication, you may be able to drive an automatic transmission vehicle in as little as 2 weeks. With a manual transmission vehicle, it will take you at least a few weeks longer before your left leg is strong enough to operate the clutch.

    Right total knee replacement: Driving isnt recommended for at least 4 weeks after a right total knee replacement or even a bit longer depending on how soon you regain your pre-surgical reflexes and muscle strength.

    Getting Into A Car After A Knee Replacement

    Before you try and get into the car after a knee replacement its best to prepare.

    • Park the car in an open space or next to the curb to have plenty of room to maneuver.
    • Scoot the front seat as far back as it can go.
    • It can even be beneficial to recline the seat during the first week after surgery to help give a little more room.
    • Get as close as you can to the car using your walker or the crutches
    • Turn around so that your back is facing the front seat and back up until you feel the seat touching the backside of the legs
    • Be sure to use the seat and handle overhead DONT use the car door for support as it is unstable and will move

    Slide back until your thighs are fully supported on the seat.

    Once you are seated on the seat.

    • Assist your legs into the car one at a time
    • Use your hands to assist your legs as needed to get in and out comfortably

    Recommended Reading: Inversion Table After Hip Replacement

    The Arthroplasty Society Of Australia & The Australian Orthopaedic Association Have Updated Their Driving Advice Following Orthopaedic Surgery

    They point out that most Australian states do not have specific requirements, but that in general, patient having right leg surgery need to be able to perform an emergency stop, and that might be 4 6 weeks following surgery.

    We have previously undertaken a study demonstrating with out Local Infiltration Analgesia and re-infusion technique, that all patients by 11 days had reaction times bettering the states that have a requirement . Right sided knee replacements were the slowest group to regain reaction time in braking on our testing machine, which required 20kg of force to the brake peddle.

    Our advice remains:1. You cant drive if you cant walk unaided2. You cant drive whilst using narcotics or narcotic patches3. Hip replacement patients need care getting in and out of car4. When returning to driving take additional safety techniques-

    • Avoid school zones
    • Mobile phone and radio should be turned off
    • Dont tailgate!

    Knee Replacement Recovery Starts Right Away In The Hospital

    Knee Replacement Recovery Time And Tips

    These days, a typical inpatient stay following knee replacement surgery lasts two days, although some patients go home the same day as surgery, and some patients may need to stay longer.

    When thinking about getting back on your feet, its helpful to consider the recovery process in phases, beginning immediately after surgery. Health care teams are proactive about keeping patients comfortable for recovery by administering medications such as low-dose narcotics, nerve pain medication, and anti-inflammatory medication. From there, its all about getting your knee joint moving again.

    Physical therapy starts the day of surgery and could be as minimal as dangling your feet over the side of the bed, says Dr. Parks. The remainder of your hospital stay will likely involve physical therapy focused on activities of daily living, which youll need to move around your home.

    Our physical therapist sees patients the same day as surgery to get them up and walking around the nurses station, adds Dr. Courtney. Its no longer about bed rest like it used to be. Now we get patients moving a lot quicker.

    Indeed, Barnes remembers that the hospital staff had her up and moving almost immediately. I started walking the day of surgery, she says.

    Read Also: Nano Knee Cost

    Book The Seat Next To The Aisle

    If you must travel, book a seat in business class or premium economy instead. Alternatively, book a seat next to the aisle or in the front of the plane just after business class ends. This will ensure you can stick your leg out and stretch when necessary. Make sure to stretch occasionally during the flight and walk up and down the aisle to boost blood circulation.

    What Does Knee Replacement Surgery Involve

    The team at Tri-State Orthopaedics provide the latest advancements in treating chronic knee problems. When conservative options arent enough, your provider may recommend knee replacement surgery. Also called arthroplasty, this procedure involves replacing the structure of the damaged knee joint with metal and plastic parts to restore the normal function of the knee and relieve chronic pain.

    Knee replacement is an incredibly common and successful procedure. Over 90% of people who have knee replacement experience significant improvement in pain and their ability to get around. For most people, knee replacement restores a good quality of life, giving back independence and allowing you to engage in activities you used to enjoy. However, recovery is often a long road. If youre scheduled for or considering knee surgery, here are some helpful dos and donts in your path to recovery.

    Also Check: Can I Regrow Cartilage In My Knee

    Learn What To Expect And How To Prepare From The Doctors Who Perform This Operation Every Day And The Patients Who Have Been Through Knee Surgery Successfully

    If your knee arthritis has gotten so bad that your medication and physical therapy are no longer enough to keep the pain at bay or prevent mobility issues, it is a good time to consider knee replacement surgery. The procedure has come a long way from the extended hospital stays, bed rest, and narcotics-based pain relief of the past.

    Fifteen to 20 years ago we told patients to wait until they could no longer take the pain of osteoarthritis to consider surgery, but thats not the case anymore, says P. Maxwell Courtney, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. With todays advances, minimally invasive techniques, and accelerated rehab and recovery protocols, we now tell patients if the pain is limiting your daily activities and youve exhausted conservative options like injections and physical therapy its time to consider surgery.

    That was certainly the case for Sharon Barnes, a teacher from Maine whose pain got so bad she couldnt sleep. My doctor said I had osteoarthritis in both knees it was literally bone on bone, she remembers. We did hyaluronic acid injections, and that got me about a year then didnt work as well. Thats when we started discussing surgery.

    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.

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    Characteristics Of Severe Arthritis Of The Knee


    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.


    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.


    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 .


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