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.
Average Flexion After Knee Replacement
Ive been told that most people dont gain the degree of flexion that Ive gained so quickly. Plus, most people wont gain their full range of motion after surgery.
Comparing yourself to others is a challenge because everyone has a different reason for knee replacement and everyone is in a different physical condition. It also depends on the age of the person.
My general thought would be that initial flexion will likely be between 60-80 degrees and you should aim for 120-130 degrees of flexion within 2 months of surgery. This wont be easy so it will take a lot of effort and determination.
I still have a long way to go. Im ahead of schedule but Ill continue to work to get as much range of motion as possible.
How Should I Sleep After Knee Surgery
The best sleeping position just after your surgery is sleeping on your back. You should make sure that your operative leg stays as straight as possible to avoid hypertension of the knee and keep proper blood flow to the surgery site. If you are sleeping on your back, put the pillow under your calf and knee.
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How Soon Can You Drive After Knee Replacement Surgery
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.
When Can I Drive
You may be able to drive about 4 weeks after your operation or even earlier, depending on your general health, which knee has been replaced and whether you drive a manual or automatic car. It should be remembered that some people become drowsy with painkillers. You should be able to do an emergency stop before attempting to drive. Your surgeon and physiotherapist will be able to offer advice.
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How Long After Tkr Can You Drive
|Name of the Surgery||Duration of rest after a TKR, before driving||Factors that decide the time for you to start driving again||Risks of driving immediately after a TKR|
|TKR surgery||At least six to eight weeks. Some individuals report that they started driving after four weeks, but that sometimes might not be safe.||The factors that decide the time at which you can start driving again include your physical fitness before and after surgery, Vehicles transmission, joint replacement type, and much more.||Driving immediately after having a TKR surgery includes various physical complications that include pain and swelling. Even rejection of the implant, bone fracturing and infection can happen.|
Many people normally confuse between TKR and TKA ?
The total recovery of the surgery can take up to six to twelve months, but your ways of pursuing your daily activities certainly vary. You will need to be extra careful after the replacement. There are many activities, which the orthopedics will advice you not to pursue for a while.
Many people who have undergone TKR have asked the same question, about when they will be able to drive after the surgery exactly.
The answer to this question is, you will have to wait at least six to eight weeks before driving your car.
Week 1 Progress With Range Of Motion
During the first week after surgery, I was able to make progress. The intense swelling made exercise and flexion difficult but as the swelling decreased the knee was easier to bend.
After my second home therapy session my therapist measured improvement in flexion from 70 degrees to 88 degrees. Before the surgery, my knee had begun to bow.
During the surgery the surgeon took the bow out and straightened my leg when he inserted the implant. My tendons and muscles had to react to the realignment and it probably stretched them more than they had been stretched for several years.
During the week the swelling continued to decrease. With reduced swelling and three very intense workouts a day my range of motion continued to improve.
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How Well It Works
Most people have much less pain after knee replacement surgery and are able to do many of their daily activities more easily.
- The knee will not bend as far as it did before you developed knee problems. But the surgery will allow you to stand and walk for longer periods without pain.
- After surgery, you may be allowed to resume activities such as golfing, riding a bike, swimming, walking for exercise, dancing, or cross-country skiing .
- Your doctor may discourage you from running, playing tennis, squatting, and doing other things that put a lot of stress on the joint.
The younger you are when you have the surgery and the more stress you put on the joint, the more likely it is that you will later need a second surgery to replace the first artificial joint. Over time, the components wear down or may loosen and need to be replaced.
Your artificial joint should last longer if you are not overweight and you do not do hard physical work or play sports that stress the joint.
People who have a partial knee replacement may have less pain. But in one study they were not as satisfied as people who had a total knee replacement.footnote 1
If you wait to have surgery until you have already lost a lot of your strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, and ability to be active, then after surgery you might have a harder time returning to your normal activities.footnote 1
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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Third Week Progress After Tkr: Range Of Motion
During the 3rd week post-surgery I began going to my off-site physical therapist. I also began going to a fitness center on my off days.
I began workouts on the exercise bike and seated leg presses with no weight. I also began doing leg lifts with a 3lb weight. The therapist took measurements of both thighs and both knees.
To finish day 1 he gave me a message around the knee for 10 minutes and then he had me do 20 ankle slides on the table . At the end of the ankle slides, he measured my flexion at 113 degrees and my straight leg at 0 degrees.
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.
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How Soon Will I Be Up And About
The staff will help you to get up and walk about as quickly as possible. If you’ve had keyhole surgery or are on an enhanced recovery programme, you may be able to walk on the same day as your operation. Generally, you’ll be helped to stand within 12 to 24 hours after your operation.
Walking with a frame or crutches is encouraged. Most people are able to walk independently with sticks after about a week.
During your stay in hospital, a physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help strengthen your knee. You can usually begin these the day after your operation. It’s important to follow the physiotherapist’s advice to avoid complications or dislocation of your new joint.
It’s normal to have initial discomfort while walking and exercising, and your legs and feet may be swollen.
You may be put on a passive motion machine to restore movement in your knee and leg. This support will slowly move your knee while you are in bed. It helps to decrease swelling by keeping your leg raised and helps improve your circulation.
Why It Is Done
Doctors recommend joint replacement surgery when knee pain and loss of function become severe and when medicines and other treatments no longer relieve pain. Your doctor will use X-rays to look at the bones and cartilage in your knee to see if they are damaged. This helps the doctor make sure that the pain isn’t coming from somewhere else.
Doctors may not recommend knee replacement for people who:
- Have poor general health and may not tolerate anesthesia and surgery well.
- Have an active infection or are at risk for infection.
- Have osteoporosis .
- Have severe weakness of the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh.
- Have a knee that appears to bend backward when the knee is fully extended , if this condition is due to muscle weakness or paralysis.
- Are severely overweight. Replacement joints may be more likely to fail in people who are very overweight.
Some doctors will recommend other types of surgery if possible for younger people and especially for those who do strenuous work. A younger or more active person is more likely than an older or less active person to have an artificial knee joint wear out. People who are very overweight are also more likely to have an artificial knee joint wear out from the extra stress on the joint.
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Take A Test Drive First
We always recommend taking a short test drive around the neighborhood before trying to drive in town. Be sure to practice quickly changing the feet between the gas and brake pedals, slamming on the brakes , and getting in and out of the car. Nothing is worse than driving to your destination and not being able to get out of the vehicle.
Can You Drive After Knee Aspiration
Subsequently, one may also ask, how long does it take to recover from knee aspiration?
There is no recovery time required after joint aspiration. Doctors typically will suggest avoiding stressful activity with the joint for at least 24 hours, especially if medication has been injected by joint injection.
Additionally, is knee aspiration necessary? If your doctor wants you to have a joint aspiration, don’t worry. The procedure is often quick and safe. Joint aspirations are most often done on the knee joint, but can also be used on the hip, elbow, wrist, or big toe joints.
People also ask, how many times can you aspirate a knee?
Although this complication occurs in less than 1 percent of patients, it is recommended that injections be performed no more frequently than every six to eight weeks, and no more than three times per year in weight-bearing joints. A Large Knee Effusion Re-accumulated Right After Being Drained.
How do you aspirate fluid from your knee?
Stretch the skin over the insertion site, and insert the needle briskly into the joint space while gently aspirating until synovial fluid enters the syringe . Relaxation of the quadriceps muscle facilitates insertion of the needle.
In the meantime, here are eight ways to treat knee swelling quickly at home.
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When Can I Expect To Drive Again How Many Weeks
A benchmark estimate youve probably seen online or read in your hospitals pamphlet is that youre likely to drive again between 6-8 weeks . Although it can be helpful to have a number in mind, not all patients will drive at the 6-8 week mark, and some patients will drive before. Older studies, like the 2003 study Brake Response Time After Total Knee Arthroplasty, suggested that 6 weeks was the minimum before operating a vehicle for most knee replacements.
Newer studies have found that due to recent advances in surgical technique, pain management, and rehabilitation right-sided total knee replacement patients may be ready to safely drive as early as 4 weeks post-op. This study looked at 29 patients having right TKA and measured the groups preoperative breaking and reaction times compared to post-op reaction times. The study found that all 29 patients passed the brake response test by 4 weeks after surgery. In addition, the study found that by 4 weeks after surgery, reaction times for breaking had surpassed the patients preoperative reaction times.
According to the study, Patients who had a contemporary TKA with less tissue disruption, a multimodal pain management protocol, and aggressive rehabilitation returned to their preoperative braking reaction time by 4 weeks after surgery.
In sum, patients that tend to drive the fastest:
What is multimodal pain management? Find out what exactly it is and how it can reduce your opioid use for pain management.
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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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
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.
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