Congratulations on getting your hip replacement. Now you are looking forward to returning to a normal, pain-free life. But what about driving? For many people, driving is a key component to living an independent life. So, if you want to resume driving, what are the things you should look out for after hip surgery? Here are some tips on driving after a hip replacement.
Notifying the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) following hip surgery
For driving an ordinary car, you do not need to notify the DVLA unless your doctor informs you that you must. If you drive category C and D vehicles you should specifically ask for advice from your doctor regarding any requirements to inform the DVLA.
As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to resume driving about six weeks after your operation. However, you need to make sure that you can safely control the car and the pedals before your official return to the road. In addition, you should be fully fit to perform an emergency stop. If you are not sure if you are ready, talk to your doctor or physiotherapist for advice. For automatic cars you may be able to start driving a bit sooner than six weeks: the same applies to left hip replacements compared to right.
Try a fitness test
Before hitting the busy roads, why not consider testing your fitness to drive? All you need to do is sit behind the steering wheel and practice pushing the car pedals in and out. If you feel any pain, then you are not yet ready to drive.
Be aware that some medications can impair your ability to drive. If you have been prescribed medication to manage pain following your hip replacement, you should aim to be off that medication before you get behind the wheel. Furthermore, when you are medication free, you should also be pain free, as pain can distract from safe driving.
Getting in and out of the driver’s seat.
Following a hip replacement, you should avoid slumping into low seats, as this can put strain on your new joint. As car seats vary in height, you should be particularly careful if the driver’s seat is situated in a low position. You could consider elevating the seating position with a cushion or pillow.
No matter the height of your seat, it can still be difficult getting into a car seat following hip surgery. If you are having trouble, try this: gradually move backwards to a sitting position, and then bring both legs, together inside the car.
Gradually increase your driving time
Once you are pain free you should gradually increase your journey time. It may be that you can drive for five or ten minutes before experiencing pain or stiffness. Once that happens, stop. With practice you can safely build up your stamina until you can once again tackle long journeys or drive in heavy traffic that requires a lot of peddle work.
About Ramsay Health Care
At Ramsay Health Care we are proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeons, ophthalmologist, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management consultants and physiotherapists in the UK. Our holistic care offers you the best treatment!
At Ramsay you won’t have to wait for an appointment for your hip replacement. Your treatment may be covered by medical insurance and self-pay packages are available on request. We have first class facilities and all self-funding and most privately insured patients can enjoy our Private Patient Pledge offering exclusive benefits including superb food, a relaxing environment, priority access and appointments to suit your lifestyle. Our aim is to help you feel like a guest as well as a patient.
Please contact us for more information.