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When Can I Drive After Knee Surgery

Driving After Acl Surgery On Your Left Knee

When Can I Drive After Total Hip Or Knee Replacement

If you drive an automatic and it is a left knee procedure then you can drive after ACL surgery once you feel that your reaction times are back to normal, pain allows, and you are not taking narcotic pain medication.

If you had surgery on your left knee and drive an automatic transmission then you will be able to drive after ACL surgery within possibly a matter of days. However it is a good idea to allow for about 1 to 2 weeks to be safe.

You should not drive if you are taking narcotic pain killer medication during the day as this can impact your reaction times.

You’ve Been Given A Sedative

After taking any sedative medication, you shouldn’t drive for at least 24 hours. This includes general anesthesia and conscious sedation. These medications don’t put you totally out but do make you less aware and are used to block pain. With the anesthesia medications isoflurane, it’s recommended that you wait even longer, from two to four days.

Driving restrictions may also be necessary while taking prescription opioids after a surgery. In fact, in some instances, you could be charged with “driving under the influence of drugs” if you’re pulled over by the police and have been using opioids.

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

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Can I Leave My Nail Polish Braiding And Engagement Rings On

The patients are encouraged to remove all jewelries before coming in for the surgery. The patient can have nail polish if it is not easily removable. In case the rings and jewelry are not removable, then they are taped during the surgery to prevent burns that may be caused due to the use of cautery device during the surgery.

When You Should Not Drive After Acl Surgery

When Can I Drive After a Knee Replacement

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.

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How To Get In/out Of The Car After Hip Surgery

There are a couple of easy steps that you can do to make it easier to get into or out of a car after an arthroscopic hip surgery.

  • Slide the front seat all the way back to make more room to twist in
  • Back up to the seat and sit down before rotating
  • Use your hands to help lift the surgical leg over the frame and on to the floor of the car
  • Keep the seat in a more reclined position while riding in the car to prevent impingement at the hip at angles greater than 90 degrees of hip flexion
  • Trucks, SUVs, and higher clearance vehicles are easier to get into than a sedan
  • Try and keep your knee and leg straight while sitting to help with the angle of the hip
  • When Can Knee Replacement Patients Drive

    The answer to this question largely depends on which knee was operated on.

    • Patients who had their non-driving legs operated on may return to driving once they can get in and out of a car comfortably and are off any pain medications that impair driving skills.
    • Patient who had their driving legs operated on may drive as soon as 2 weeks after surgery,1 while others may need 6 weeks or longer. To drive, knee replacement patients must:
      • Not be taking any pain medications that impair driving skills
      • Have regained their pre-surgical reflexes and muscle strength.

    Research examining knee replacement patients ability to drive has yielded varying results and recommendations.2 Therefore, patients and doctors should work together to decide what is reasonable for the individual.

    See Total Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery

    Handicap parking placardObtaining a handicap parking placard for a car requires a doctors approval. The specific regulations and paperwork vary from state to state. Patients may ask their doctor if they are eligible for a placard before surgery as well as after.

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    Why Does It Matter If It Is The Left Or Right Leg

    This is important because of the motion of switching between pedals. If the surgery was performed on the left leg that you will be able to return to driving as soon as you are off pain meds and can safely get into the car.

    If you had hip surgery on the right leg then you will have to wait longer to drive. The motion of switching from the gas pedal to the brake pedal can be problematic. When you are sitting with the hip flexed or bent above 90 degrees this increases the risk of hip impingement which is what you dont want after surgery.

    Driving After An Upper Limb Injury Or Surgery:

    Driving After a Knee Replacement: When is it Safe?

    The use of both arms is essential to safely operate an unmodified vehicle. It has been shown that anyone wearing an upper extremity cast would fail a driving test. This applies to above elbow and below elbow casts and is worse when the thumb is included in the cast.

    Drivers in casts tend to have worse responses to hazards in a driving simulator and also drive more cautiously. Drivers wearing a sling were involved in significantly more crashes than those using both arms. Even healthy volunteers wearing a sling had impaired driving ability. It is my recommendation that any patient wearing any form of upper limb splint or sling not operate a motor vehicle.

    To view further information on driving guidelines please click on this link: Driving after Surgery Guidelines 2014

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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
  • Driving After Joint Replacement Surgery: When Is It Safe

    Nov 8, 2018 | Patient

    For many adults, driving a vehicle and feeling independent go hand-in-hand. After joint replacement surgery, driving represents freedom, progress, and a return to your new normal. In short, getting back into the drivers seat is a major and meaningful milestone. So, when is it safe to drive after a hip replacement or knee replacement?

    A journal in Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research shares that, Patients are often eager to return to driving, which allows them to resume their social and recreational activities or even to return to work.

    When can I drive after my joint replacement? is one of the most frequently asked questions after joint surgery and a recurring, popular thread in our support group. To get to the bottom of driving safely after a replacement, we interviewed Dr. John Tiberi, MD OS at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

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    What To Expect After Discharge

    Within 10 days following your discharge, you should be able to:

    • Bend your knee 90 degrees and extend your leg fully
    • Stand independently or with little help
    • Rely less on assistive devices
    • Bathe, dress and use the toilet on your own
    • Climb up or down a flight of stairs

    At the two to three-week mark, your knee may be strong enough to carry more weight. Most people are either using a cane or nothing at all by this point.

    Three months after surgery, the majority of patients are 90% recovered. After six months, most patients feel 100% recovered.

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    How Successful Is Knee Arthroscopic Surgery For Osteoarthritis

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

    Knee arthroscopic surgery just for osteoarthritis usually has the short-term relief in pain and swelling but if the patient has complications secondary to arthritis that may be causing the worsening of pain, then these patients have good results in pain relief as well as improvement in function. Examination along with radiological tests like x-ray and MRI are helpful to select such patients.

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    Driving After An Orthopedic Injury Or Surgery

    Angela Underwood’s extensive local, state, and federal healthcare and environmental news coverage includes 911 first-responder compensation policy to the Ciba-Geigy water contamination case in Toms River, NJ. Her additional health-related coverage includes death and dying, skin care, and autism spectrum disorder.

    One of the most common questions people ask after undergoing a medical procedure is “When can I start driving again?” When the procedure is related to an orthopedic injury, the concern is all the greater.

    As an orthopedic injury heals, you may not be allowed to move the injured body part for a long period of time. This is especially true if you’ve had surgery or are nursing a serious fracture.

    This article explains factors that affect when you can drive again after certain types of orthopedic surgeries and steps to recovery. It also discusses the role your doctor plays in helping you determine when youre ready to get behind the wheel.

    Is Knee Surgery Worth It

    Each year in the United States, surgeons perform more than 650,000 arthroscopic surgeries.

    Each one costs an average of $5,000. That makes knee surgery a $3.2 billion business. Worldwide, each year it is performed more than 2 million times.

    Over the years, researchers have tried to learn if surgery is fulfilling its promise relative to alternative treatments.

    These studies serve as the basis for medical recommendations and advice.

    Toward that end, a new rapid recommendation may help you decide among treatment options.

    Its based on the review of a randomized trial .

    A panel of 18 experts issued the recommendation. In it, they strongly suggest that arthroscopic surgery offers little to no benefit over exercise therapy.

    The recommendation applies to nearly all people with degenerative knee disease.

    In making their recommendation, the panel focused on patient perspective. The impact on society itself, including any cost savings for health funders, was not considered.

    The authors feel certain enough in their conclusion that they wrote the following: Further research is unlikely to alter this recommendation.

    It must be noted that the authors assumed certain lifestyle priorities regarding peoples choices and values.

    Their recommendation targets those who they believe place greater emphasis on the downsides of arthroscopic surgery. Often, it was found, any benefit from surgery disappears within a year.

    He agrees with some, but not all, of the recommendations.

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    What Is A Total Knee Replacement

    A total knee replacement is a cartilage replacement with an artificial surface. The knee itself is not replaced. However, an artificial substitute for the cartilage is inserted on the end of the bones. This is done with a metal alloy on the femur and plastic spacer on the tibia and kneecap . This creates a new smooth cushion and a functioning joint that does not hurt.

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    Dos And Donts After Knee Surgery

    Riding (and Driving) In A Car After Knee Replacement Surgery

    After knee surgery, youll likely encounter challenges and pain on your path to recovery. While it may seem difficult, remember that what happens after your surgery is just as important as the surgery itself.

    Here are some dos and donts to help you recover:

  • DO take rehabilitation seriouslyFollow your doctors instructions carefully after surgery. This includes performing all exercises prescribed by your physical therapist even if its uncomfortable. While you may experience some pain and frustration, stay positive and stick with it! The end result will be worth the effort. Experts say 50 percent of a positive outcome depends on the patients willingness to work hard in physical therapy and rehab. To help your knee heal properly, take your prescribed medications and get plenty of sleep.
  • DO use ice and heatAccording to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, swelling after knee surgery can last for three to six months. Ice packs are recommended to reduce inflammation and pain. Use three to four times a day for about 10-20 minutes during the first few days. After the initial swelling has gone down, alternate between ice and heat to relax the muscles and ease stiffness. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist if ice doesnt help, or if you want to try longer periods of ice or heat.
  • If you experience problems during recovery, call your doctor immediately for proper healing and to prevent further health issues.

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    How To Know You Are Ready To Drive Again After A Knee Replacement

    There are a few important milestones that you need to reach before you can begin driving after a knee replacement:

  • You can no longer be taking narcotic pain medication for pain relief
  • You have more than 80 degrees of knee flexion range of motion
  • You have enough quad control to lift your leg into bed without using your hands. This signals that you have enough strength to shift pedals
  • Driving After Acl Surgery On Your Right Knee

    If it is a right knee procedure, then this is more of a problem as you primarily use the right leg for driving. Using the right leg for driving is generally the case for most vehicles that are driven on public roads.

    The most important factor is that you can drive after ACL surgery when you are confident and feel comfortable.

    As mentioned above, you must be able to break hard and stop quickly in case a 3 year old runs across the road in front of you!

    As there are no standard industry guidelines to follow when determining when it is safe to drive after ACL surgery, there are a number of other indicators that doctors refer to when making an assessment including:

    • If you had a reconstruction on your right knee then consider allowing a period of 4 to 6 before you drive again
    • You should only drive once you restore control of your quadriceps muscles
    • Walking after ACL surgery without crutches is a strong indicator that you can drive a car again

    Note: Some patients may say that they can use their left foot to brake instead of their right, however evidence suggests that this may cause your reaction times to slow and adversely impact your safety

    It is also important to have your pain and knee swelling under control and to ensure you are comfortable when breaking. You will need a good range of motion to move your leg backwards and forwards.

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    How Soon Can I Return To Work After Meniscus Surgery

    The recovery time for meniscus surgery depends largely on what type of surgery you have. How soon you can get back to work will also depend on the type of work you doyou might miss a week of work or as much as three to six months.

    Tears in the meniscusthe cartilage between the thigh and shin bonesare common. Sometimes doctors will recommend meniscus repair surgery, in which the torn edges are sutured back together. This is more commonly used in people under age 30.

    For people over age 30, repair is often not possible because of age-related deterioration of the cartilage. In that case, the surgical approach will be removal of the damaged portions of the meniscus, a procedure called meniscectomy.

    Youre likely to have better long-term results with a meniscus repair, but the healing time is longer.

    Meniscus repair recovery

    While everyones recovery is different, heres what you can typically expect with a repair surgery:

    • You may be on crutches for four to six weeks.
    • If your job mostly involves sitting at a desk, you may be able to get back to work in a week or two.
    • If your job requires being on your feet, you could be off work four to six weeks.
    • For a very physically active job or a return to sports, plan on a three- to six-month recovery period.

    Meniscectomy

    With a meniscectomy, youll be back in action more quickly. Heres what you may expect:

    How to heal faster

    Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today

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