When can I drive after knee replacement?
I am often asked by patients when they can return to normal activities such as driving. There are two main considerations here: comfort and safety.
The patient must be comfortable enough to not require strong painkillers which could cause drowsiness. They must be able to get in and out of the car with good comfort and bend the knee well enough so that they can use the controls. Sometimes this can be achieved within 4 weeks, but often may take longer.
The safety factor is harder to quantify and can vary widely between patients. Some research has been done to suggest that reaction times for braking are sufficiently returned by 4 weeks. A more traditional approach has been to delay the return to driving, particularly for the right knee, until 6 weeks post operation.
Finally, the decision to return to driving should be discussed with your surgeon, as individual patient’s circumstances, age and general health vary widely.