Driving following knee surgery?

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I'm now 8 weeks following patellafemoral replacement and on third course of naproxen tablets to try and reduce fluid in knee. Having physio, doing exercises, resting, elevating and icing frequently but am so desperate for the first morning when I can put my foot to the floor and 'knee feels like mine' lol.

At physio session this week I was asked if I was driving........driving??......I can barely breathe and walk at the same time!!.  I know the expectation is that you can drive at 6 weeks but I've no strength in knee to even think about activating the clutch pedal - am I being a wimp? 

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Pam - No, you are not at all wimpish!  It is amazing how advice differs according to the area or country in which you live.  I am a 71 year old lady, having had tkr on my left knee almost six months ago.  The advice given from our hospital was not to drive until 10 to 12 weeks following the operation!   I did try to drive at 8 weeks and I did manage half an hour but was conscious that there was some pressure on my knee cap and decided to leave it until later.  I then saw the consultant at about 11 weeks post op.  He was quite satisfied that I would be able to drive and I started doing a couple of miles about three times a week.  I am pleased to say that I am now driving quite happily without any discomfort.  My knee feels stronger all the time and I would say that this started to happen about the four month mark!  So keep going Pam - you will get there.  I think that we all have too high an expectation of what we should be able to do and how quickly we should be able to do it,  but we are all governed by our own body and its powers of recovery - dependent on so many different factors!  
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  • Posted

    I had a pkr, and would love to be back behind the wheel at four weeks, it was only 16months ago, that I started having any reel trouble with knees, then all of a sudden it got that I could hardly walk 100 metres unaided, I used to have a mini clubman which was my last gift from parent, ( in other words I bough it out of inheritance ) I had to let it go cause it hurt to much to get in and out. I now have a Kia ceed, which was actually a mobility car, built for it, it's higher and as a passenger I can get in and out as the seats go miles back , it's also an auto( which is all I've ever had) so it means I'll be back driving sooner, well that's the plan. I can't wait for that day, just to take my self round my daughters for a cuppa will be great. All this certainly makes you appreciate the little thing in life 🍐☕️
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  • Posted

    Pam, your are not a wimp.  We are all different.  We have different pain tolerance, the degree of movement before surgery & our fitness before hand. plus knees heal at different rates. I know this for sure as I had both done at once & my left is a dream, my right is another story. Less flexion, more pain/discomfort with sciatic pain on top of it all. Fortunately, I saw  an osteopath student at our local university, (they do a 5 yr course & in their 4th & 5th year are clinicians under guidance of professional Osteos) This is in Australia & the cost is around a quarter of the cost of professionals. Saw her on Monday after a very painful weekend, two days later I am once again walking without a limp or pain in my knee.  Still have sharp jabs every now & again if I twist the wrong way or do not get into the car correctly - bum first follwed by your legs.  Concentrate on walking correctly, heel to toe, otherwise you throw your leg out, get back pain & probably sciatic pain.  I have learnt the hard way as most of us probably have.  Looking fwd to seeing her again next week.  At $30 a treatment (1 hour) I think I have found the best treatment of all.  I still my exercises though. We need to concentrate on how we are moving, dont push too hard & be positive.  It will happen.
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  • Posted

    People are so different you are not being a whimp. If you do not feel safe driving do not do it.

    It might help if you can drive an automatic for a bit.

    Take your time.

    Love Sarah xxx

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  • Posted

    Pam I totally understand, I felt exactly the same. I am 13 weeks today and I only drove for the first time last week. I went round the block for ten mins and really felt it afterwards.

    I have always driven quite a distance (sometimes 3 hours a day with work) so I really miss it. My leg had deteriated severely leading up to op so I had adapted my driving style and was used to pain. Driving is as much of a confidence thing as physical. You cannot get back behind the wheel until you are mentally ready. We all recover at different levels. I always feel I'm behind everyone on here but I am finally realising it myself. I have other bits in my leg to strengthen it so it's far from a routine TKR, I've also been told I need further surgery. We all just need to listen to our bodies and not do anything until we're ready.

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  • Posted

    You are being very intelligent. Last thing you want is not having control of a vehicle. I'm not sure naproxen actually reduces fluids but just takes away the inflamation. I always found I retained fluids with any type naproxen drug. Years ago I took one of the 1st generation drugs, naproxen, and within 10 days was jiggling around like a water balloon. Check back with your Dr as to the meds and maybe there is something better. Proper use of therapy should help reduce fluids. One misconception that was proved to me years ago was laying off fluids would stop some of this.......wrong......it only adds to the problem. Make sure you are properly hydrated at all times. Small amounts throughout the day are better that gulping down huge amounts all at once. If you have a professional massage the final instructions from the masseuse is drink extra amounts of water for the next 24 hrs. Mine hands me a bottle of water on the way out the door.......why? Because the rubbing of all the soft tissue get the circulation going to the organs and you start peeing every 30 minutes for the next 8-10 hours. So drink before during and after exercise. Plain water is by far the best. Again , make sure the inflamation fighting drug isn't causing fluid retention and if it's affordable try a professional massage.
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  • Posted

    Don't ever think you are being a wimp. I often do, I'm only two weeks after surgery clips out and physio due to start. Yes I would love to be feeling better but  unfortunately feel so drained and frustrated.  Patience something I am finding hard,  take care   Jackie 
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  • Posted

    Wimp? Certainly not!

    Take it easy, don't beat yourself up it will all come together eventfully.

    Don't forget we all had to learn to walk and talk at a very early age so it will come back to you eventually.

    Remember to rest !

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  • Posted

    13 weeks post op today and I drove (albeit with my hubby as passenger) for the first time last night. It seemed a strange sensation when using the clutch pedal and I'll admit to feeling very apprehensive - so much so that when I got home I burst into tears......of relief. My hubby thinks I'm mad!

    For anyone who has had their independence taken away for a while, it's a big deal to get a little bit back. Knee is really stiff this morning but I've got physio later today so I'm hoping they'll be able to ease it a little. Am still hobbling about the house without my stick but still not confident to do same outside. A few weeks ago I couldn't even imagine getting to where I am now, its been a much much longer process than I ever imagined, but slowly but surely I think I am making progress......hopefully!! 

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    • Posted

      That's great Pam. Each step is a step closer to that normal life we all want. Well done. I'm at almost 18 weeks post now and I've been driving round the block etc for about 6 weeks. Working with physio to build my leg up enough so I can manage the 60 mile round trip to work. Not sure I'll get there before I have further surgery at the end of July but hopefully after that I should be back to normal soon. It's difficult for other people to understand what the struggle is like.

      We'll all get there xx

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