Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Can I Drive After Bunion Surgery?

When anybody starts thinking about foot surgery, they start to realize her to have limitations after the procedure. Aside from having some limitations of walking, people next start to realize that they might not be able to drive a car.

For any kind of surgery, anesthesia can impair your ability to think and drive. That is why all hospitals and surgery centers require someone to come with you on your date of surgery to make sure that you can get home safely. He should never drive within 24 hours of having surgery under any circumstances.

In terms of foot surgery, many people feel confident enough to drive immediately after the procedure. However, what is a wise choice. If you have an immobilizing device such as a fracture walking boot, cam walker, cast, or posterior splint he should never drive an automobile. All of these immobilization devices make it very difficult for you to feel the pedals in the car. It is very easy for a fracture boot to become lodged between the gas pedal and the brake.

While I was in residency, I had one patient who had had bunion surgery and decided to drive her car. One morning when getting ready to come into the office to see me for her postoperative follow-up appointment, she got in her car, and proceeded to lose control and drive it straight through her garage. So be very difficult to explain to an insurance agent.

About a year ago, at another patient here in my office in Chattanooga, who had an ankle fracture. He was wearing a fracture walking boot in order to provide stability to the injured area. Although he had been instructed not to drive a car while wearing the boot, he thought he could handle it. Unfortunately, he lost control of his car and drove into the Hardees restaurant. Fortunately no one was injured.

One of my instructors and residency used to always tell patient that driving a car while wearing a fracture walker was a “personal legal decision.” The reality is that if you get into an automobile accident while wearing one of these immobilization devices, the investigating officers will almost always consider the accident to be your fault.

Even if you are only wearing a surgical shoe to provide stability after bunion surgery, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery investigated the motor skill ability of patients who had had bunion surgery.

In that study, the investigators took 28 patients who had undergone bunion surgery on the right foot and evaluated them. They used a custom-made driving simulator in order to compare the bunion surgery patient’s abilities regarding total brake response time, reaction time, and actual brake time. The bunion surgery patients were compared to a group of 28 subjects who had not had surgery. These two groups were matched for age, driving status, and sex.

What the investigation found was that two weeks after bunion surgery on the right foot, 75% of patients were unable to complete the test. This showed that two weeks after bunion surgery, most patients will be unable to safely operate a car. Interestingly, however. Six weeks after bunion surgery the patients' reaction, brake, and total brake response times were even better than they had been before the bunion was surgically corrected.

The study concluded that it is safe to operate a car six weeks after bunion surgery, but not before. It’s always important to use common sense. Although it may be a minor inconvenience, if you can make arrangements to have a family member help you with transportation while he recovered from your bunion surgery, it will be much safer. He will also likely to recover faster because you won’t have pressure applied to surgical repair while the area is healing.

It typically takes about six weeks for the bone to heal after bunion surgery. If you were forced to apply the brakes, or if you are involved in a collision, there would be a substantial risk that the bunion correction could be damaged. If you have had bunion surgery, it is always important to discuss your plans with your foot surgeon, before you drive a car, just to make sure that you won’t have any problems.

Dr. Christopher Segler is an author, inventor and award winning foot doctor with a surgical podiatry practice in Chattanooga. He invented the patented surgical instrument that simplifies flatfoot surgery and bunion surgery. He publishes articles and teaches other surgeons about his unique methods to decrease pain after foot surgery. You can order a FREE copy of his informative book about common causes of foot pain at

1 comment:

Fromage said...

This is extremely poorly written. The information might be very helpful, but the syntax, grammar and lack of punctuation make it too distracting to absorb.