Is it Safe to Drive with My Arm in a Cast?

Nov 04, 2013, 11:43 ET from American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Authors of article on dangers, considerations for driving after orthopaedic procedures available for interviews

ROSEMONT, Ill., Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following advisory was issued today by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

WHO:   Orthopaedic surgeons Geoffrey S. Marecek, MD, and Michael F. Schafer, MD, co-authors of a new literature review outlining the potential limitations and necessary precautions for driving after orthopaedic surgery and procedures.

WHY:   While the topic can have emotional, legal and public safety implications, there are currently no laws, or well-established insurance or medical guidelines, to help patients and physicians determine when it is definitively safe to drive again following orthopaedic procedures. As a result, many patients drive without consulting their physician, while still on narcotic pain medication, and/or while wearing splints or casts which can significantly impair their ability to drive.

WHAT:  "Driving after Orthopaedic Surgery," appears in the November 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).

Highlights from the literature review include:

  • Patients should never drive if they are taking narcotic pain medication.
  • The use of both arms is essential to the safe operation of a vehicle.
  • Splints, casts, slings and other devices used for post-surgical immobilization, and the treatment of fractures and dislocations in the upper extremities, may seriously diminish a driver's ability to control the wheel.
  • A lower extremity injury, cast or splint may limit a driver's ability to use a car brake or gas pedal.

November 1, 2013 Full JAAOS Table of Contents

  • Management of Septic Arthritis Following ACL Reconstruction: A Review of Current Practices and Recommendations
  • Foot Compartment Syndrome: Diagnosis and Management
  • Hip Pathology in the Adolescent Athlete
  • Tendon Transfers for Radial, Median, and Ulnar Nerve Palsy
  • Management of Metastatic Bone Disease of the Acetabulum
  • Driving After Orthopaedic Surgery

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons