Almost all the patients who either are on the list to undergo a hip replacement or have already undergone a hip replacement surgery have one common question and this when can they return back to their normal activities with regard to work, recreational activities, and driving. When talking about recovery from total hip replacement, there are many factors that play a crucial role in determining the overall recovery time of the patient from the procedure. This includes the age, overall health status of the patient, the hard yards he or she is willing to put in after procedure during rehabilitation, how soon he or she can get back into shape to do activities of daily living, and how soon the new hip fits into the hip joint so that the patient can resume driving.
For almost all the cases, it takes about four to six weeks before an individual is said to be recovered from a hip replacement procedure although total healing time takes about six months. During the first 8 to 10 weeks after the hip replacement surgery the patient is good enough to walk without assistance and participate in some of the activities of daily living except heavy lifting, bending, and twisting. When it comes to driving, it involves perfect reaction time and it is seen that immediately after a hip replacement surgery patients have a decreased reaction time and thus are said to be unfit for driving. This reaction time required during driving gradually increases over time and it takes usually a couple of months after procedure when the patient should be able to drive. This article gives an approximate time frame as to when can an individual go back to driving after a hip replacement surgery.
How Long Does It Take To Drive After A Hip Replacement?
As of now, physicians recommend at least six to eight weeks before an individual can return back to driving after a hip replacement procedure. However, a recent research conducted on patients have found that younger people who are in the age range of 50-55 years who have had hip replacements can return to driving approximately two weeks earlier than this.
The research selected a group of patients who were supposed to undergo a hip replacement procedure. They recorded their reaction time through a driving stimulator machine in which they were supposed to put the foot on the accelerator and then switch to the brake pedal when they see the stop sign on the screen. The time taken for them to do so was recorded and an average taken. The patients were then asked to take the same test again two weeks post surgery and the average reaction time taken was more than the pre-procedure baseline. Thus it was concluded that the patient is not fit for driving two weeks after a hip replacement surgery. The same test was repeated four weeks out of surgery and the results were that people who fell in the age range of 50-60 years had a reaction time that was better than the preoperative state and such individuals were considered fit to be driving.
The results for individuals above 60 years of age were more than the baseline and they were tested again eight weeks out from hip replacement surgery. Such individuals were back at their baseline reaction time after 8-10 weeks post surgery. Thus, it was deemed that people who are young and active and fall in the age bracket of 50-60 years are deemed fit for driving 4-6 weeks out of hip replacement surgery and those above this age range were fit to drive after 10 weeks post surgery. In some cases, people recorded much better reaction time even at four weeks after surgery and were declared fit to drive.
In conclusion, it normally takes 6 weeks after a hip replacement surgery for an individual to be able to drive but for the elderly population this time frame goes up by a couple of weeks to 6-10 weeks before they can be declared fit to be driving after a hip replacement surgery.