Driving after tkr

Posted , 19 users are following.

I am preparing for my tkr and feel like I will get truthful answers from the ones that have already gone through this more so than what the doctors will tell me.

I am reading that a lot of people are not able to drive for 4 plus weeks. Is this because of the drugs, the pain or because it's difficult to get in/out of cars. I understand there will be swelling and pain but what's keeping people from being able to drive?

I apologize if my ??? seem silly but I do better when I am able to process as much as I can before this surgery and to mentally prepare myself as much as I possibly can.

I know it will be worse than I expect but knowledge is power.

Thank you for your replies

Cindy

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  • Posted

    L TKR. Auto trans. Drove at 2 weeks when not on meds. Dr. didn't approve. I did fine

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  • Posted

    Hi Cindy,

    You do have to be off the painkillers first of all. Secondly for me, bending my knee to get my foot back and forth between the brake and the gas was a bit painful. I was very careful and when I first started driving probably somewhere between the 6th and 7th week, to make sure I could drive safely. You'll know when you're ready to, good luck.

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  • Posted

    Hi Candy,

    here, in Australia, you have to not drive for 6 weeks, until the surgeon thinks you're fit to, otherwise, you will not be covered by insurance if you were to have an accident.  In all. Honesty, I had bilateral tkr's and felt able to drive at around 4 weeks post op.  I first drove to my follow up appointment with the surgeon  and was lucky enough to have the ok to drive. Pheeeew!  My car is automatic by the w

    Good luck with everything

    Sue x

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  • Posted

    Mainly it's because of the pain meds and leg strength. Also if it's your right knee, that makes a difference, because of course it would be a lot more used than your left leg. And having decent ROM to lift your leg from pedal to pedal.

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  • Posted

    Hi Cindy,

    I am glad that you found this forum.  It has been a wonderful source of encouragement for all of us.  To begin with, everyone is different in the amount of recovery time. BUT...this is absolutely nothing like any other surgery! Recovery is measured in months, not weeks. Each little bit of progress should be met with cheers and smiles.  You will most likely "hit a wall of discouragement" around the 2nd week.  Hang in there..your body has been through a rough surgery and it will take time...plenty of time, patience and hard work. Do not expect to feel like doing anything for the first 4 weeks.  Sleep will be difficult, so sleep when and wherever you can.  Stay on top of your pain and don't let it get ahead of you. Start taking stool softners before surgery because pain meds are constipating.  Stay hydrated! ICE< ICE< AND ICE SOME MORE.  Elevate your leg whenever possible.  Be faithful about physical therapy and exercises at home. Above all, fight to stay positive. Your knee will feel like an alien has invaded your body and is taking over your life. Don't let it.  Get out in the sunshine, buy yourself flowers and let other people help you whenever possible.  You can and will get through the tough weeks eventually.  I will be praying for you!

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  • Posted

    No such thing as a silly question, and knowledge will really help you with recovery.

    I'm in Minnesota, and my doc and physio required me to have 120 degree flexibility, be able to press 60 lbs wry only my TKR foot, and be off pain meds when I drive. I could drive at 3 weeks. But that's just me. Everyon is different.

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    • Posted

      Glad I don't have your Dr. I still wouldn't be able to drive after nearly year and a half. After my last go round the dr was looking for a 110 max. but eventually got to 117. Ill always be on pain meds as the number of surgeries has left my knee in shambles.

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  • Posted

    Cindy it is all of the above, while on opiods you are not suppose to drive and you have to be able to bend your knee enough to drive safely.  Last time it took be almost 6 weeks before i was able to drive.  Good luck to you
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  • Posted

    In addition to the other points being made, you also need to have the leg strength to maintain solid pressure on your brake pedal, for the safety of you and others on the road. It may not sound like a difficult task, but with weakened leg muscles and misfiring nerves, it could become a factor out on the road. What if you had to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident - would you be physically capable. Err on the side of caution when tackling the driving following your TKR. Everyone is different, but I did not have my doctors approval until 6 weeks post op.
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  • Posted

    Cindy,

    for me it was my surgeons decision. I also had to be off pain killing meds. I also had to be able to do an emergency stop without pain or without the knee "giving way" !

    ?Now i am a professional driver and I can tell you that doing an emergency stop because you are "trying out your knee to see if you can drive" and slamming on your brakes because a kid runs out in front of you from inbetween a row of parked cars are two different things - trust me.

    How would you feel if you had to do an emergency stop like that at 5 weeks post op, your knee gave way and you killed the child, even if it wasn't your fault. You'd become a killer and will have wrecked your surgeons handiwork most likely !!!

    In retrospect I probably could have driven at 6 or 7 weeks, but certainly not before that. I drove at 8 weeks.

    ?Get bloody real !

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  • Posted

    cindy, I forgot to say - I'm talking about my right leg only, and then only a partial knee replacement - NOT a TKR. I have no idea which of your knees you are having done. If you drive a manual car and its your left knee then I guess you'll have problems. At 2 to 4 weeks you just won't have the power in the leg to drive properly. Hardly walk properly much less anything else.

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  • Posted

    I believe it is from an Insurance perspective. I thought I was able to but.....pain medication and fatigue would have made me a danger.. I slept a lot the first six weeks. What after five lots of excersises during the day, then hydrotherapy and gym .... I was very tired. All been worth it so far, I'm nearly eight weeks post op and have so much more energy, then I get a bad day or night. It will be at least three months til I can work properly 

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  • Posted

    I am at almost 8 weeks and still haven't been given the ok to drive. I had manipulation under anesthesia 2weeks ago. My surgeon said 6 weeks at the earliest, but I still don't have enough flex to drive. He wants to make sure if I have to slam hard on the brakes I won't injure myself and that I have good reaction time. Have to be off pain meds too. I only take 1 5mg oxycodone mornings before PT. And that's it. Good luck to you!

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  • Posted

    I believe the driving inquiry is all of the above. My husband did not drive untilhe was 5 weeks post-op.  If you have a spouse or significant other, be sure he/she is prepared for the lack of intimacy during the healing period.
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