Driving after a hip replacement
- Posted on: Sep 7 2018
If a hip replacement is in your future, you are probably both excited and full of questions. People are often curious about how soon they can get into their normal routine following a total hip replacement. Like a lot of things, the answer varies from individual to individual, and your healing process and condition should be taken into consideration when deciding. In this blog, we will focus on travel, specifically driving a vehicle. As always, if you have more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and set up a consultation. Leading up to any procedure, we will be certain that you understand what to expect both before, during, and after your surgery.
Although some New Yorkers choose not to drive, there are many individuals in the area who operate a car or truck on a regular basis. If you are one of them, it’s important to know that your driving will be temporarily limited following a total hip replacement. There are several reasons for this, so it’s important that you listen to the recommendations of your doctor and don’t rush to get behind the wheel too soon.
First and foremost, after a surgery, you might be weak and unable to react as quickly as you would before the procedure. Since your reaction time will be reduced, you increase your risk of an accident and therefore put yourself, other drivers, and any passengers in danger’s way. Additionally, you might feel pain when you go to apply the gas or breaks on your vehicle. After surgery, you will receive specific instructions for physical therapy and strengthening your hip area. With time, your body will heal and you will regain full strength and mobility. When this happens, you can speak with your doctor about starting to operate a vehicle again.
Another reason we keep recently treated patients from driving is that they are often under the influence of heavy narcotics used to reduce post-surgery aches, pains, and swelling. Although these medications are helpful for keeping you relaxed and comfortable, they are dangerous when the person taking them operates a vehicle. Some medications cause drowsiness while others might cause hallucinations or erratic thinking. While you won’t be using these medications forever, until you have comfortably removed yourself from the prescription, the dosage is simply too much to use while driving.
Thankfully, the fact that you are unable to drive does not have to keep you stuck at home. In fact, it is important that you get out and use your new hip joint. In the weeks after your surgery, you can reach out to friends and family to see if they would be willing to serve as your driver. If assistance is unavailable, considered public transportation, ride sharing, or rentals. Your insurance might help you locate a driving service, as well.
Although it can be frustrating to lose your mobility, even for a short time, remember that the inconvenience will pass and you will soon be able to be active and back to your normal day-to-day activities once you heal.
Posted in: Hip Replacement