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When Can I Drive After Knee Replacement

How Long Is Rehab After Knee Replacement

When Can I Drive After Total Hip Or 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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To 6 Weeks After Surgery

Once ambulatory aids have been discontinued, people can begin walking and gradually progressing the duration of their exercise. Bending the knee should continue to progress beyond 90 degree during weeks three and four.

People should begin low-impact, aerobic exercise activities including stationary bicycling and increasing the duration of walks. Typically by six weeks post surgery, people have resumed most of their normal activities and are doing light exercises.

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.

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Exercise And Getting Around

Your physical therapist will encourage you to begin walking as soon as possible. At first, you will use an assistive device, but it is best to use this only as long as you need it. Walking without a device will help you regain strength in your knee.

Working with the physical therapist for those first weeks is important as it will allow the therapist to detect any knee problems.

You can start walking farther and begin to engage in other activities after about 12 weeks.

Swimming and other types of water exercise are good options, as these low-impact activities are easy on your knee. Make sure your wound has completely healed before entering a pool.

Avoid placing weights on your leg and doing leg lifts on weight machines for the first few months, until you get the go-ahead from your physical therapist or doctor.

Your new knee will make it much easier to engage in a diverse array of activities. However, its important not to put too much stress on the joint.

The AAOS recommends the following activities:

  • walking

Questions You Should Ask Your Knee Replacement Doctor

When Can I Drive After a Knee Replacement

The following guide is provided to patients of Dr. Gregory Raab, an orthopedic surgeon in Nashville, TN that specializes in total joint replacement and revisions in the knee and hip. If you are suffering from knee pain, schedule an appointment with a knee replacement doctor near you to find out if you are a candidate for total knee replacement surgery.

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What Is The Fastest Way To Recover From Knee Surgery

4 Tips for Faster Recovery after Knee Surgery Keep the Knee Straight. While it may not be incredibly comfortable, its important that you keep your knee joint completely straight immediately after your surgery. Wear Your Knee Brace. After your surgery, your doctor may give you a knee brace. Appropriate Exercise. Physical Therapy.

How Long Will It Be Before I Feel Normal

You should be able to stop using your crutches or walking frame and resume normal leisure activities 6 weeks after surgery. However, it may take up to 3 months for pain and swelling to settle down. It can take up to a year for any leg swelling to disappear.

Your new knee will continue to recover for up to 2 years after your operation. During this time, scar tissue will heal and muscles can be restored by exercise.

Even after you have recovered, it’s best to avoid extreme movements or sports where there’s a risk of falling, such as skiing or mountain biking. Your doctor or a physiotherapist can advise you.

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Driving Home From The Hospital Situation

One of my biggest challenges was the prospect of getting into a car after surgery.

I had been carried out of the hospital and put in a wheelchair when we finally came up with an idea- for me to sit in the back with my leg stretched across, then stand up and climb over before sitting down in the passenger seat.

Each time I tried to get into the backseat, I failed miserably. By the third try, I decided it was best if we just left me where I am. My knee pains prevented me from getting in comfortably, but they also made exiting the vehicle impossible.

The twenty-minute drive home seemed like an eternity, but once we got there all became better when my son parked in the driveway instead of out front.

With him taking care of logistics and giving me a helping hand with getting around I was finally at peace for what felt like forever once we reached our destination, albeit parking off to one side so that he could open up his door for us.

Truck Vs Car Vs Suv After A Knee Replacement

Driving After a Knee Replacement: When is it Safe?

A few important factors that make it easier to get into a vehicle after a knee replacement. This includes how far back the front seats can slide back to make it easier to bend your knee while you are getting into the car.

In general, SUVs and trucks are easier to get into because there is more room to slide the front seats back and you dont have to bend the knee as much to get to the lower seats of a car. However, some trucks can be hard to get into because of the height of the truck and stepping up into the truck.

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Helping You To Make A Speedy Recovery After A Total Knee Replacement

Your insurance company should be informed about your operation. Some companies will not insure drivers for a number of weeks after surgery, so its important to check what your policy says. Normally, it is safest to avoid driving for 8 weeks after a knee replacement. Discuss this with your insurance provider.

Driving – An exercise

Before resuming driving, you should be free from the sedative effects of any painkillers you may be taking. You should be comfortable in the driving position and able to safely control your car, including freely performing an emergency stop. After 6 weeks, you might want to test your fitness to drive, though discuss this with your physiotherapist first. Do this in a safe place without putting the key in the ignition. Simply sit in the driving seat and practise putting your feet down on the pedals. Again, build up gradually. If you feel pain, stop immediately. If you feel sore afterwards, you may need to wait a day or two and try again. Only when you can put enough pressure on the pedals to do an emergency stop – without feeling any reluctance or inhibition – should you think about driving again.

How To Shower After A Total Knee Replacement:

Set the showering supplies within reach:

  • Set the Soap , shampoo, conditioner, long handled sponge to wash the back and lower extremities, and wash cloth within easy reach.
  • Set the shower hose in a location where you can reach it while sitting and standing in a shower. A shower hose mounted on a vertical slide bar is perfect.
  • Place towels to dry after showering within easy reach so that you can either dry off after getting out of the shower while standing or sitting.
  • Place and organize clothing you anticipate wearing after showering by the bed or chair within easy reach of where you will sit to dress.

If the patient has a choice, always choose to shower in a shower stall rather than showering in a tub.

A shower stall frequently has a non-skid tile floor and may not need a separate non-skid mat for the shower floor.All showers within a tub should use a non-skid mat. Not only are the tub floors slick, they also are not flat and level. A towel placed on the floor of the tub will reduce the slipperiness of the tub, but a non-skid mat would be much safer.

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Under What Conditions Should I Seek Medical Advice Post

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.

How Long Will I Be On A Blood Thinner

When can I drive after my joint replacement? By Devin Conway and Lee E ...

You will be placed on low-dose Aspirin twice a day during your recovery in the hospital. You will go home with a prescription for low-dose Aspirin that will be taken twice a day for 2 weeks.

If you are on Coumadin or Xarelto prior to surgery, it is important to let your knee replacement doctor and the anesthesia staff know prior to surgery so the necessary adjustment can be made. Most patients will stop their Coumadin 7 days prior to surgery and switch to an injectable blood thinner up until the night before surgery. Once the surgery is over, you will continue the injectable and Coumadin until your Coumadin levels have returned to their pre-operative levels. If you have had a history of blood clots or pulmonary embolism, additional arrangements may also be made.

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How Much Range Of Motion Do I Need To Get Into A Car

We typically recommend that someone has at least 105 degrees of knee flexion to get into the drivers seat of a car. This makes it easier to clear the pedals and slide into the front seat.

To get into the passenger seat, you need around 80-85 degrees of knee flexion to maneuver yourself into the front seat. Of course, this doesnt mean it will be a comfortable ride at this range of motion, but you should be able to get into the car normally.

Advice For Traveling Comfortably After Knee Replacement

Below are some tricks for staying comfortable while driving after having surgery on your knees. The experience can be exhausting and uncomfortable. These are ways to stay comfy while driving:

The easiest position for getting in and out of the car from either side is from the front passenger seat or front-back seats.

When first starting, using your arms for leverage when getting in and out helps balance.

For those who use a walker or cane to assist them, remember that this tool will hinder them from being able to get into vehicles quicker than normal drivers. It might be best for those drivers to leave their assistance devices outside the vehicle before entering themselves.

When you feel stiff after long drives pullover and find somewhere safe where you can relax while stretching your muscles, so they feel rejuvenated again.

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Why Does My Knee Keep Giving Way

As a Consultant Orthopaedic and Knee Surgeon I treat many patients with difficult knee problems.

A common problem that affects many of my patients is the feeling of their knee giving way. This often happens unexpectedly and can be painful, although sometimes it is not. It causes instability and can affect everyday life, they lose confidence in their knee and it can get in the way of them doing the things they enjoy such as running, taking the dog for a walk or having a kick about with their kids in the garden.

Many things can cause this troublesome problem the following are some examples from my patients.

Characteristics Of Severe Arthritis Of The Knee

When can I drive after a hip or knee replacement


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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Questions About Managing After Surgery

Will the surgery affect my abilities to care for myself? Yes. You will have limited mobility initially after surgery and will be using an aid to walk with for at least 6 weeks. You may need assistance after surgery with transportation, meals, bathing, etc. Please click here for more information.

When can I drive? I know the book says I can’t drive for at least 6 weeks but can I drive anyway since it is my left leg?

Normally for all patients who have hip and knee replacement surgery your surgeon will advise no driving for 6 weeks post-operatively. Your insurance company may not cover you during these 6 weeks no matter which leg was operated on.

How mobile will I be after my surgery? After surgery, you will be allowed to bear some weight on the surgical leg and use an aid to walk with for at least 6 weeks. Many people are able to walk at least 30 metres when they leave the hospital and generally have no problems walking a few blocks, if not more, at 6 weeks.

Do I really need to use a standard walker?

Follow physiotherapists instruction to ensure walking safely. Your therapist will progress your ambulation as ordered by your surgeon and as your ability improves.

Can I use my crutches instead of the walker?

Again your physiotherapist will determine when you may do this.

Who will take care of me after I leave the hospital? Please click here for more information.

When can I shower?

Will the surgery affect the way I sleep?

When Can Knee Replacement Patients Return To Work

The first question many knee replacement candidates ask is If I have this surgery, when can I return to work? The recovery process is unique to each patient, but experts generally say3 that people with:

  • Sedentary or desk jobs may be able to return to work after 4 or 6 weeks.
  • Manual labor jobs, such as construction and landscaping, typically do not to return to work. The frequent and repetitive pressure on the new knee may cause it to wear out prematurely, requiring a second surgery.
  • Mixed labor jobs, which require frequent standing or occasional bending or lifting may return to work after approximately 3 months.

Prospective patients should talk to their surgeon about returning to work before surgery is scheduled.

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Tips To Stay Comfortable While Driving

As I mentioned in this article my surgery was on my right knee.

  • For me, it was easier to get in and out of the car on the right side passenger seat or the right side back seat.
  • Avoid low-profile cars like sportscars as these vehicles will be tough to get in and out of.
  • Put your weight on your hands/arms when getting in and out of the car.
  • Initially, my walker or a walking stick was helpful, especially when getting out of the car .
  • Push the seat back as far as it goes to make yourself comfortable and to allow you to straighten and flex your knee.
  • On longer trips, recline your seat to stretch out even further.
  • Take frequent stops to relax and stretch out
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    Knee Replacement Recovery Timeline

    How Soon Can You Drive after Knee Replacement?

    Most patients are discharged one day after surgery. On your discharge day, you may be able to stand and walk out of your hospital room, or you may need assistance with walking, which is completely normal. In the weeks following, most patients gradually expand their physical abilities. Every case is unique. Your surgeon and your physical therapist will coordinate to progress you as quickly as possible. Although everyone progressed at a different pace based on numerous factors, some common timeframes are:

    • 3 weeks after surgery: At this point, you should be able to walk for more than 10 minutes at a time, without a walker or crutches. Your physical therapist may challenge you to go on longer walks and stop using an assistive device like a cane.
    • 6 weeks after surgery: Between weeks 4 and 6, you may be able to start driving again, if your doctor clears you.
    • 12 weeks after surgery: Typical physical therapy programs last for up to 12 weeks. At this point, you should be able to walk for several blocks at a time and may even be able to pick up hobbies like swimming and cycling. As your therapy program ends around the 12-week mark, stick with your walking schedule and gradually challenge yourself to walk further and longer.
    • One year after surgery: You will continue to make progress for an entire year after knee replacement. By this time, your knee should reach its full strength and you should be able to return to most activities.

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