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 patient’s 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 isn’t 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.
Of note, you should be extra cautious when you reach 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, it may be an indication that you haven’t healed well enough to drive just yet.
Generally, most patients may be able to get back to driving between 2–6 weeks after surgery, and your surgeon would be in the best position to give you a more specific time based on an assessment of how well you are recovering.
Dr. Jacob brings cutting edge techniques and technology to the Oklahoma City area. He has extensive training in minimally invasive, rapid recovery joint replacement as well as robotically assisted hip and knee replacement. Dr. Jacob is a pioneer in outpatient joint replacement allowing some patient to go home the same day as their procedure and recover in the comfort of their own home. The cornerstone of Dr. Jacob’s practice is to have the recovery process be easier, faster and less painful allowing his patients to get back into the game of life. Dr. Jacob is committed to bringing the highest level of orthopedic care while treating each and every patient like a family member. Providing you with patient centered care you can trust.