How Soon Can I Drive After Orthopaedic Surgery?

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If you’ll soon be undergoing orthopaedic surgery, you likely have many questions about what to expect during the recovery period. Specifically, patients often inquire about when they’ll be able to get behind the wheel again. While there’s no black-and-white answer to this question, you can get an approximate idea of how long you’ll need to wait before driving by considering your injury and the orthopaedic procedure to be performed.


What To Consider in Driving Safety


Oftentimes after orthopaedic surgery, immobilization is required. This means that the joint can’t bend during the recovery process. Immobilization may prevent some of the movements required to drive, requiring patients to wait until the body part can bend before driving.



Sedatives include anesthesia and painkillers. If sedatives are used to prevent pain during the recovery process, patients shouldn’t drive until they’re done taking the sedatives.



After orthopaedic surgery, some patients may have limited mobility in certain body parts. This may impair their ability to drive. You and your doctor will need to consider how severely your mobility is hindered after orthopaedic surgery and how that will affect your ability to drive.


Returning to Driving

When you return to driving after orthopaedic surgery, driving should be pain-free. You shouldn’t require a splint, either for the arm or leg, to ensure a full recovery. The limbs should be strong and mobile enough to carry out all of the motions required to drive without discomfort. Both of the hands and wrists should both also function normally. It’s worth noting that your auto insurance policy may not provide coverage if you’ve recently undergone orthopaedic surgery or incurred an injury, like a fracture. After orthopaedic surgery, it’s worth checking with your auto insurance agent before returning to driving to ensure that your insurance coverage is in effect.


At Hernando Orthopaedic & Spinal Surgery, Dr. Higgins will advise you on when you can safely return to driving after orthopaedic surgery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.