When Can I Drive After Knee Replacement Surgery?

In the weeks after your total knee replacement surgery you will likely be keen to get back behind the wheel. After all, no one really likes relying on friends, family members or public transport! Driving will make it easier to get back to your regular work, social life and recreational activities. All the reasons you had the surgery in the first place.

Driving After Left Knee Replacement Surgery

If you are scheduled for a left knee replacement surgery, you may be able to drive again as soon as a couple of weeks after surgery. Especially if you have an automatic car or an electric vehicle.
If your vehicle is not an automatic, you’ll probably need to wait longer — your left leg won’t be ready to operate the clutch for several more weeks. And even if you do drive an automatic, you’ll need to wait to drive until you’re no longer taking opioid pain-relieving medication e.g. Oramorph or Codeine. Driving with narcotics in your system is not safe, as the drugs affect both your mental ability and your reaction time.

Driving After Total Right Knee Replacement

With a right knee replacement, driving isn’t usually recommended until at least four weeks after surgery. Depending on how your recovery goes, you may need to wait six to eight weeks before driving.
As with a left knee replacement, however, never get behind the wheel after right knee surgery if you are still on narcotic medication.

When Will it Be Safe for You to Drive?

The only person who can tell you exactly when you can drive again is you. Your orthopaedic surgeon or physiotherapist will be able to guide you. When you go for follow-up appointments after TKR surgery, you can ask how soon it will be before it is safe for you to drive. However, if you can comfortably get in and out of the car, have full control of your vehicle and can perform an emergency stop then you should be safe to drive. The DVLA has guidance on driving after surgery on their website.

In addition, if you’re using a walker or other assistive device, or if walking long distances is a challenge after knee arthroplasty, you may want to ask for a disabled parking badge also known as a “Blue Badge” , you can check your eligibility here.

When Can I Drive After Knee Replacement Surgery

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Do I Need to Let the DVLA know I’ve had surgery?

Not usually.
However, YOU MUST tell the DVLA if you’ve had an operation and you’re still unable to drive 3 months later. You do so by completing form G1 (for cars and motorcycles) or G1V for lorries and HGV.

Advice on Driving After Total Knee Replacement

When you get the green light from your orthopaedic surgeon, drive with extra care. Reaction times and braking forces can be diminished for several months following total knee arthroplasty, changing your ability to drive as you did before surgery.
If you experience any pain while driving or have difficulty braking, let someone else take the wheel. Your joint probably needs more time to heal.

How Can We Help?

Here at the My Knee Doc clinic we aim to put you front and centre of what we do. We have a great team who will listen to you, help you with your knee problem and guide you through your whole treatment journey. We aim to give you the best possible care from the first time we speak to you, perhaps on your 10-minute call, through your initial assessment in the clinic, to your treatment and your follow-up. We won’t just discharge you once your treatment is complete. We have a complete aftercare package which means you always have access to our team of specialists.