Driving After Hip Replacement?

When Can I Drive After My Hip Is Replaced? —

A major question on the minds of new hip replacement recipients is when they can drive again.  This is especially the case for those who have no driving alternative or whose family needs them driving quickly.

Being able to drive a car or truck returns independence and allows you to rely less on outside help.  But when is it safe to drive again after your hip is replaced?

driving after hip replacement

Driving after hip replacement is normally allowed between 3-6 weeks after surgery depending on your surgeon’s preferences.  If you had your right hip replaced you should wait longer seeing the right leg is involved in driving activity.  Only after you are fully off of any narcotic pain medication will your surgeon clear you for driving.

Driving After Right Hip Replacement

As mentioned before, those who have their right hip replaced have more to consider with return to driving.  The action of picking your right leg off the brake and accelerator pedals can be a bit strange at first.  You may even notice some stiffness or mild discomfort when first returning to driving.

You may want to wait in the 4-6 week range to return to driving to avoid any issues.  This is unless driving is something you desperately need to get back to doing to help your home situation out.

If you are still in the moderate pain range at the 3-6 week range I suggest against return to driving. Wait until your symptoms decrease to normal levels again to being driving. 

High pain levels would indicate you are still in the swelling and inflammation stage.  Driving would not be a safe activity to return to at this stage.

How Long Can You Not Drive After Hip Replacement?

I suggest to all of my hip replacement patients to attempt their return to driving in a safe manner.  By this I mean don’t just get behind the wheel again and assume you can drive normally once again.

First have someone drive you to an open area parking lot, for example an empty school or church parking lot.  Once there, switch drivers and practice normal driving tasks such as quick stops and simple braking and accelerating.

drive after hip replaced

If you are able to perform the normal movements associated with driving then you are ready to drive again.  Start with short drives of under 5 minutes and work your way up to longer highway and distance driving afterwards.

Don’t forget, if you’re driving somewhere you will be getting out of the car and doing some task like shopping.  Good chance you might be a little sore or stiff after so don’t assume you can run errands like normal.

Truck Driving After Hip Replacement

Truck driving from an actual hip motion and movement standpoint is no different than getting back and driving a car.  The issue with returning to truck driving is the type of truck you are driving requires more physical exertion and effort to control.

For pickup trucks driving in town, there should not be any issue with regards to driving after hip replacement.  The issue with trucks would be the getting in and out and using a running board for up and down.  For running boards you simply need to take the up with the good leg, down with the bad leg strategy.

truck driving hip replacement

Drivers with 18 wheelers and more commercial trucks, controlling the vehicle may require some additional physical strength during turns and carrying heavier loads.  For this type of truck driving you may want to regain some additional leg strength before returning to full haul driving.  Waiting 3-4 months would be a best case strategy for return to full term long haul driving.

Again, getting into and out of 18 wheeler trucks will require a strategy as described above to make sure you don’t hurt your new hip.  Sitting prolonged in long haul trucks can also be a chore and you initially will not tolerate greater than 1-2 hours of driving at a time.

Can You Ride a Motorcycle After Hip Replacement?

Most likely you have searched this and are already riding your motorcycle because nothing is going to stop you from riding your bike again.  But the question is should you be riding your motorcycle again and is it safe to do so?

The good thing for you is yes, you can certainly ride your motorcycle again and generally most surgeons are fine with you doing so.  The thing you need to be aware of is that riding a motorcycle has many aspects that are generally not good for joints, especially the hip joint.

motorcycle after hip replacement

The first aspect is the general position of leg abduction, external rotation and hip flexion while sitting atop the bike.  While generally these are not extreme positions, if you have a low riding bike it can force you into hip flexion beyond 90 degrees.  Doing this too early can be harmful to your new hip so I would suggest waiting 3 months until you try riding again.

The second part of the motorcycle is the vibration of the bike itself affecting your new hip.  If you search online you will find bike riders with artificial hips mentioning the vibration of the bike at times causing some discomfort.  Be aware of this and understand this could be an issue early on in your return to riding.

The final and most difficult aspect of riding your motorcycle again is the control required from your legs during standing as well and driving.  You need to have good strength in your surgical leg, I would suggest 90% of normal, to safely control your bike throughout the ride.

Returning to riding your motorcycle will come with time so be patient and make sure you don’t injure yourself in your rehab from surgery.

Final Thoughts on Driving After Hip Replacement

  • You Can Return to Driving in the 3-6 Week Range After Surgery
  • Right Hip Replacement Patients Should Wait An Additional Week or Two to Return to Driving
  • Return to Motorcycle Riding Should Wait 3 Months Until Proper Strength is Regained
About Jeffrey Roth MPT

Owner and operator of Roth Therapy Services in Pittsburgh, PA focusing on in home rehabilitation physical therapy services.


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