(734) 422-8400 | Great Lakes Orthopaedics

How soon can you get behind the wheel after knee replacement surgery You’ve just had knee replacement surgery, and you’re tired of hanging out in the passenger seat every time you need to go somewhere.

Sure, it’s nice having someone chauffeur you around sometimes, but it’s also nice not having to rely on friends, family, or public transportation to get you from point A to point B. So, when can you start pushing the pedal to medal again (figuratively speaking, that is)?

Well, there are a couple of things to consider, so buckle up and enjoy the ride1,2:

  • Does your vehicle have standard transmission?

If you answered yes to this question, then you may have to wait a little longer before hopping in the driver’s seat. If your left leg was operated on, it will not be in good enough shape to push the clutch.

  • Are you taking pain medications?

Strong pain medications are often prescribed to help manage pain after knee replacement surgery. These medications can affect your mental ability and reaction time; therefore, getting behind the wheel with pain medications in your system is definitely not safe.

Ok, so now that you’ve answered those questions, let’s get back to determining when you can actually drive again.

Although most people are cleared to drive from four to eight weeks after knee replacement surgery, your orthopedic surgeon is the only person who can tell you exactly when you can get back behind the wheel.1,2 Each patient is different and recovery times may vary. Be sure you follow your doctor’s post-op instructions and keep your follow-up appointments. And if you need to use a walker, or if you’re having a hard time walking long distances, inquire about a disabled parking placard. The goal here is to get you back on your feet and behind the wheel as soon as possible.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when driving after knee replacement surgery

How soon can you get behind the wheel after knee replacement surgeryLet’s say your orthopedic surgeon has finally given you the green light. That’s great! However, make sure you use extra caution when you drive. Your reaction times and braking forces may not be the same as they were before your surgery, and they can be affected for several months after.1

And always remember, if you have pain while you’re driving, or if you have a hard time accelerating or braking, pass someone else the keys and let them drive. Your leg needs more time to heal up.

Great Lakes Orthopaedics: where your health and wellness matter

If you have any questions or concerns about knee replacement surgery, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our patients are like family. We want them to feel confident in the care they receive and experience the difference we can make. Our team of professionals are available to explain in detail procedures like knee replacement surgery, our advanced minimally invasive techniques, and what patients can expect—every step of the way.

We’d love to hear from you! Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation:  https://greatlakeso.com/contact/


  1. How Soon Can You Drive After Total Knee Replacement? Steward Medical Group. Accessed January 12, 2023. http://www.utahorthopediccenters.com/how-soon-can-you-drive-after-total-knee-replacement/.

Tubb CC. Driving after Knee Replacement Surgery. New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine. Accessed January 12, 2023. https://www.nbsportsmed.com/blog/driving-after-knee-replacement-surgery.


The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Call Now