Right ATR - Driving timeline?

Ten days after surgery, I had the sutures taken out and was placed in a boot. It was such a relief since the original cast was just so big and heavy. I’ve been wearing the boot religiously as instructed, and only taking off to do ROM exercises (3x/day) and for showers. I am still NWB and will be seeing the ortho surgeon at the end of the week when, I suppose, he will write a script for PT and re-evaluate my driving status.

I was wondering about how long after the surgery people are usually able to drive? Also, any tips on how to drive as safely as possible? My injury is on the right side and I drive an automatic. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

7 Responses to “Right ATR - Driving timeline?”

  1. I’m sort of the opposite in every way (non-op, left-leg, manual car) but I can tell you what my physio said. She said I’d be able to drive when I can perform an emergency stop without thinking about my Achilles. At 9.5 weeks I feel like I’m almost there. I’ve actually had a go at moving my car around in my car park and it felt OK. I think I’ve just got a bit further to go before I can slam my foot down sub-consciously.

    Since you’ve had surgery you should hopefully recover strength a bit faster than me, but on the downside it’s going to be harder to press the brake than a clutch. I guess generally it’ll be some weeks after you get into two shoes.

    Hopefully someone with a more similar rehab can be more specific :)

  2. I was also left leg, non-op, manual transmission. The clutch on my car is actually stiffer than the brake; I wasn’t able to drive until around 13 weeks. I also broke my right leg not too long ago, and only started driving again last week.

    As morcs said, to drive safely following a right leg injury, you need to have the leg strength to slam on the brake without hesitation. Also, depending on how you place your foot on the pedals, you might also need dorsiflexion flexibility and strength to transition smoothly/quickly from the gas to the brake. You’ll probably be able to drive once you can comfortably walk around unaided.

    On a side note, it’s worth considering the possible implications if you get into a car accident. Insurance companies may challenge your readiness to drive.

  3. I am right ATR and manual car. I am also a rep and do about 200 miles a day so have not been able to work since 9th December when i did this. I can second Morcs - basically when you can do an emergency stop without hesitation you can drive according to my physio. My brother who has done both AT first time he had surgery and second time on his right he was treated conservatively. He found he was driving quicker after his conservative approach and i think he was cleared to drive by 12 weeks. He does say that he drives differently now…. a little less aggressive…. which is no bad thing. i can’t wait to drive but i am also not prepared to push it as it’s just not worth it in the end. part of my personal rehab plan is to sit in my car on the drive making engine noises and practicing the peddle action.

  4. I wasn’t able to drive until about 2ish months after surgery. I however sometimes would drive with my left foot if I was just going up the street to the grocery store. My doctor said its not illegal to drive with your left foot but you probably shouldn’t :D

  5. For all - this question comes up regularly and there are many answers but if you want to protect yourself from liability then you should obtain a clearance from your doctor. If you drive with your left foot crossed over and you have a collision then you could be prosecuted. Doctors should not give legal advice. I believe I could argue successfully in court a degree of negligence in this action and I have proscecuted many traffic offences. Modern cars do not require a great deal of foot pressure to stop quickly and it is usually your brain that forces the foot down hard. ABS was invented to take away the action of the brain and prevent the wheels from locking. Once I was cleared for 2 shoes I was cleared to drive but I stress you will need to get that clearance from your doc or your insurance company may decide not to pay out. When you start driving again it is better to keep more than the ‘proper’ distance from cars in front (not double your usual distance for some). A 3 second gap is considered proper so increase that to give you more time to stop slower. Driving slower can help but it can also annoy other drivers depending on your country. A lack of dorsi flexion does not impede you ability.

  6. I’ve been a left foot braker for the past 20 years so driving with both feet has been natural to me (automatic transmission). I have a Right ATR and am currently in a cast. We live 20 miles from my work and also live the opposite direction from any relatives that could transport me back and forth to work. It is probably not the best thing, but I’ve been able to put my right leg over the console and drive rather well using my left foot. We are fairly rural, so there is usually not much traffic density. I am still super careful and have increased my following distances. I’m not sure driving with the left foot is for everyone, but it is working out for me just fine.

  7. Thank you, everyone! Today, my surgeon said I am restricted from driving for the next 6 weeks and will be re-evaluated at the 10-week (post-surgery) follow-up visit. So, it looks like I’ll be contributing to Uber/Lyft’s coffers for a while longer.

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