Friday, April 12, 2024

Driving After Rotator Cuff Surgery

Points To Remember Before You Start Driving Again After Rotator Cuff Surgery

Driving after rotator cuff surgery

You must consider the following before you decide to start driving again after rotator cuff surgery:

  • Drivers should check with their therapist if their therapy is complete and they can start driving.
  • They should also check with their surgeon to check if they have fully recovered from the rotator cuff surgery.
  • They should check on their insurance policy before returning to drive. The car insurance may not cover you for a certain period of time after the rotator cuff surgery.
  • Drivers must not drive under the influence of narcotic medications or within 48 hours after an anesthetic. Pain medications may affect the drivers judgment and ability to concentrate.
  • The driver must be in control of the vehicle at all times and should be able to demonstrate so if stopped by the police.

Before you go back to the roads, make sure you test your driving ability in a safe environment like an empty car park. If you can perform the maneuvers that driving requires repeatedly, you may consider returning to driving. Begin with short trips and try to be accompanied by a driver. This will help you rebuild your routine.

Recovery Phase : Active Motion

The active motion phase begins when the tendons heal enough for you to start moving your arm on your own.

A physical therapist may work with you to strengthen your muscles, reduce shoulder stiffness, and improve your arm control. Expect to do home exercises to increase your range of motion, too.

The exercises likely won’t involve any added resistance during this phase. This can be a long phasetaking up to 12 weeks from the day of surgery.

Be Mindful Of Your Movement

While certain motions particularly with the wrist and fingers are safe to perform during recovery, avoid putting stress on your shoulder as it can delay healing. This includes such movements as reaching behind you, raising your arm overhead or out to the side, lifting anything heavy, and placing weight on your shoulder. Wearing a sling can help discourage you from making these motions inadvertently.

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Driving After Your Shoulder Surgery

The time taken before someone can return to driving after shoulder surgery will depend on the type of procedure undertaken, the length of immobilisation and the recovery of active movements. To be able to drive safely you should be capable of actively moving your shoulder without assistance and without damaging the surgical repair. You should be able to react normally to avoid causing injury to yourself or others due to lack of control.

  • It is a UK requirement that, unless specific dispensation has been granted by the DVLA, a driver uses both arms to control the steering wheel. To achieve this, the driver requires to have sufficient strength and mobility in their shoulder.
  • It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that they are in control of the vehicle at all times. They should be able to demonstrate this if stopped by the police.
  • Drivers should check with their physiotherapist, surgeon and vehicle insurance policy before returning to drive after surgery.
  • It is not a requirement to notify the DVLA unless the medical conditions likely to affect safe driving persist for longer than 3 months after the date of the surgery.
  • Drivers must not drive under the influence of narcotic medications or within a minimum of 24 hours after an anaesthetic.

In Summary

More information about the estimated time before returning to drive following a specific procedure can be found in the respective rehabilitation protocol section for each procedure.

Patients Just Want To Get Back To Normal

Fig 26. OrthoSpace

Researchers in this study aimed to define patients number one concern following surgery when can they drive again? Although every post-surgery recommendation for getting back behind the wheel tends to be weeks long, evidence-based guidelines have been missing up to this point. Therefore, surgeons are often overly conservative in their guidelines. Researchers point out that this effect only causes unnecessary inconvenience on patients and their families. The results of this study show definitively that patients can get back to getting around with little concern for increased driving risks post-surgery.

The study was very thorough with patients baseline driving performance being recorded prior to the surgery and then tested again 2, 4, 6 and 12 weeks after the rotator cuff repair. Each patient was tested for parking skills, left and right turns, straightaways, yielding, highway merges and U-turns. The total course length was 15 miles and lasted about 45 to 55 minutes. Patients generally braked less aggressively, steered more smoothly, and drove more stable at two weeks post-op. They also drove more smoothly on highway merges.

This study was published online on July 21, 2022, in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Driving After Arthroscopic Surgery

  • If you have had key-hole surgery where no tendon or ligaments have needed repair, immediate movement is encouraged and you can drive once physically able. On average most people return to driving around 4 weeks following surgery.
  • If a ligament or tendon has been repaired, you need to wait until the tendon/ ligament has healed â normally around 8-10 weeks with a graduated increase in activity.
  • Returning to driving early after tendon surgery may compromise your outcome.

Ask Dr McLean to clarify your restrictions prior to surgery to avoid disappointment.

How Do You Go To The Bathroom After Shoulder Surgery

A detachable showerhead helps keep water away from your shoulder, and pump soap makes bathing easier when you can use only one arm. Place non-slip bath mats in the shower and on the floor outside your bathtub or shower. A shower chair is also great for safety because you may tire easily during your recovery.

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Can You Drive After A Rotator Cuff Repair

  • BlogCan You Drive After a Rotator Cuff Repair?
  • After receiving rotator cuff repair surgery, one of the first questions patients ask is, When can I drive again? The answer can be complicated. You might get a different answer from every surgeon because there are no standard qualifications to determine when someone is ready to drive after surgery. However, there are basic guidelines you can follow to get an estimate of when youll be on the road again.

    When You Should Not Drive After Shoulder Surgery

    When is it Safe to Drive After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

    You must understand under which circumstances you should not drive. The biggest indicators that you should hold off on driving after shoulder surgery are:

    • If youre wearing a sling: A sling means that you wont be able to fully use both of your hands to steer, shift gears and avoid collisions. This limitation can drastically impair your reaction time, making you a danger both to yourself and other cars on the road.
    • If youre taking pain medication: Many pain medications can impair your motor functions. This impairment is especially dangerous if youre on strong opiate prescriptions. Wait until your mind is completely clear before getting behind the wheel again.

    Other reasons you might want to hold off on driving for a while include:

    • Experiencing pain: Pain can distract you from whats going on in front of you. Try to avoid driving until you arent in so much discomfort.
    • Unfavorable road conditions: Taking your car out for a drive when its raining or snowing is dangerous in the best of times. Do yourself a favor and hold off on testing your skills in inclement weather after surgery.
    • A long commute: Ease yourself back into driving. Start with short distances that will help your arm rebuild its stamina.

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    Getting Back In The Drivers Seat

    Before you start driving after your rotator cuff surgery, you should consult your doctor and ensure your recovery is going as planned. Most people can remove their slings about six to 12 weeks after their operation. Once your sling is removed and youve discontinued any pain medications, your doctor is likely to agree its time for you to start driving again!

    Recovery Phase : Full Activity

    Full recovery after rotator cuff surgery often takes four to six months. Complications can extend this timeline.

    Recovery time often depends on:

    • The size of the rotator cuff tear
    • The severity of the tear
    • The outcome of the surgery
    • The patient’s commitment to rehabilitation

    Keep in mind that there is no one-size-suits-all treatment plan. Everyone moves through these phases at a different pace.

    Your physician should play an active role in your recovery. Place a call when you need help, because a delay could set your recovery timeline back.

    Discuss any specific questions you have about your rehab plan with your surgeon.

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    When Can You Drive After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Rotator cuff surgery can make many daily activities much more difficult during the post-operation period. The goal of rotator cuff surgery recovery is to return to all your normal activities as soon as possible. Driving is a priority as you want to have your mobility and autonomy back. Here are some ways to tell if youre ready to drive if youre recovering from rotator cuff surgery.

    Recovery Phase : Passive Motion

    Fig 42. Resurfacing Shoulder Arthroplasty

    The first phase of recovery is passive motion only. This means that only a physician or physical therapist should move your shoulder for you.

    Passive motion also means that the rotator cuff muscles and tendons do no work on their own. The shoulder moves without placing any tension on the repair.

    This phase may last up to six weeks, depending on the size of the rotator cuff tear and the strength of the repair itself.

    It may feel “funny” to have a therapist move your shoulder for you. But it should be helpful: Toward the end of this phase, the therapist can explain how to move your own shoulder without contracting the rotator cuff muscles.

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    Patients May Safely Return To Driving As Early As 2 Weeks After Rotator Cuff Repair

    Disclosures: We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact .

    For patients undergoing rotator cuff repair, a safe return to driving can be made as early as 2 weeks after surgery with no clinically important negative impact on driving fitness, according to published results.

    Using an instrumented vehicle equipped with cameras and an onboard safety monitor, Ariel E. Badger, MS,and colleagues analyzed preoperative vs. postoperative driving fitness in 27 patients who underwent primary rotator cuff repair .

    Badger and colleagues evaluated several kinematic driving measures and behavioral data, such as parking, left turns, right turns, straightaways, yielding, merging and U-turns. According to the study, the course included 15 miles of public streets and took 45 to 55 minutes to complete. A total of five drives were included in the analysis. Performance was evaluated preoperatively and at 2, 4, 6 and 12 weeks after RCR.

    Among the 13 analyzed kinematic metrics, noninferiority was exhibited across all postoperative drives compared with baseline drives. Researchers noted patients braked less aggressively, steered more smoothly and drove with more stability at 2 weeks postoperatively. Performance of specific maneuver types also exhibited noninferiority compared with baseline drives.

    How Soon Is It Safe To Drive After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Recovery from a rotator cuff surgery is of utmost importance and its okay if you cannot drive for a few more days. After the surgery, your arm is immobilized for minimum 2 weeks with a sling. The use of sling may be extended up to 12 weeks depending on your recovery which is different for different individuals. You must never drive with the sling.

    Some people try and drive with one hand operating a car with only one arm is dangerous. Besides, there are situations when you have to use emergency brakes which can be damaging to your surgical shoulder. You should also not drive as long as you are taking narcotic pain medication as they affect your driving capabilities to a great extent.

    On an average, it is recommended not to drive before 6 weeks post rotator cuff surgery. Additionally, you must feel that you have the strength and are comfortable enough to drive safely. Its better to start with short journeys, initially with somebody accompanying you.

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    Driving After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    One of the questions I often receive during the office visit after a patient has surgery that he or she wishes he had asked before surgery deals with driving. Can you drive immediately after shoulder surgery, such as a rotator cuff surgery?

    Allen asks: I had a large tear in my dominant left arms rotator cuff that was repaired on March 27. The two weekends and one week of getting rides were a mixed blessing. I found myself riding with a driver arguing on the phone for most of the distance. Id rather take my chances driving myself. My surgeon cited driver codes that Ive not been able to find. My wife barely speaks to me, for taking thesling off for brief periods. I almost talked my mom into assisting me in trading my 5-year-old car in, as it is the stick shift of my current car, which seems less than safe.

    After shoulder surgery, especially after a rotator cuff repair surgery, you are often immobilized in a sling or shoulder immobilizer for several weeks. This restriction can apply to tears of the labrum, rotator cuff, biceps tendon amore. While I realize that many people are capable of driving with one hand, in this video I explain why that is generally a bad idea.

    Also read:

    Driving After Shoulder Replacement Surgery

    When can you return to work after rotator cuff surgery?
    • The main consideration following shoulder replacement surgery is the healing of the tendons, which are normally cut to gain access to the joint.
    • In general, tendon healing takes 6-8 weeks and gets progressively stronger to the 3-month mark.
    • Returning to driving earlier than 8 weeks may compromise your surgery.
    • As a guide, it will be at least 8-10 weeks before you will be able to drive and then a gradual increase in activity/ driving can be expected.

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    The Long Road To Recovery

    As you can see, it is a slow process to regain the strength to do more. Working at your place of employment is the most problematic, but it depends on your specific job and how serious the original tear was to the rotator cuff. Someone who has a desk job working at a computer may go back to work in about eight weeks after surgery if given the OK by their doctor.

    For others it will take as long as six to eight months before they can return to their job. Those who have construction jobs, who are first responders, car mechanics, ,or in the military will require the full time to regain the strength in their shoulder. The size of the rotator tear will also be considered in this timeline.

    Physical therapy will be introduced to regain proper motion and strength. For some it may take a full ten months for complete recovery, especially for those who consistently use their shoulder to lift or carry heavy objects.

    Unfortunately, not everyone will regain the full strength they had prior to rotator cuff surgery.

    How Long After Rotator Cuff Surgery Can You Drive

    You should avoid driving for at least 6 to 12 weeks after rotator cuffThe rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach the shoulder blade to the upper arm b More surgery. This is to allow your shoulder time to heal and to prevent any further injury. You will be advised by your doctor and physiotherapist when it is safe enough to drive. After the surgery, your arm should be kept close to your body, which you cannot do while driving.

    Driving with one arm is dangerous as you do not have full control of the car. Additionally, you may have to react quickly to conditions on the road which could put immediate and destructive strain on your vulnerable shoulder.

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    How Long Do You Have To Wait Before Driving After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Iâm about to get rotator cuff surgery, but my friend asked me to help him move. I want to help, but I doubt Iâll really be able to lift anything. Will I at least be able to help with driving?

    6 to 12 weeksyouâre off the hookdrive with one armthis can be unsafewait until youâre fully healedPlease be advised that this column is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute official medical advice. Talk to your doctor about your specific situation.

    Testing Your Capacity To Drive After Orthopaedic Surgery

    Fig 18. Open Excision
    • Before attempting to drive on public roads, take your car to an empty car park and practise driving in a safe and controlled environment.
    • Once you can safely and repeatedly perform all of the emergency stop procedures and all the manoeuvres necessary for driving, you may consider returning to driving.

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    Tips To Speed Recovery After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    From throwing a baseball to waving hello to lifting heavy objects, shoulders make it possible to perform a wide variety of tasks. Sometimes, however, a sudden injury or repetitive movement can damage the muscles and tendons in your shoulder, resulting in a torn rotator cuff.

    In many cases, these issues respond to treatment at home, but when pain continues over a prolonged period, it’s time to see a specialist. At Orthocenter, the largest orthopedic group in New Jerseys, Monmouth/Ocean County areas, our specially trained physicians begin with reviewing your symptoms and conducting an exam. Diagnostic imaging like X-rays and MRIs may help gather more information, and exploring the rotator cuff arthroscopically is another option.

    We offer several types of surgery, including minimally invasive arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and superior capsular reconstruction when necessary. Any procedure involves recovery time, but these eight tips can help make it as quick and pain-free as possible.

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