There are two questions I get every time a patient prepares for foot or ankle surgery. They are:
Hay dos preguntas que recibo cada vez que un paciente se prepara para la cirugía del pie o el tobillo y Ellas son:
Today we’ll focus on the second question. When you’ll be able to drive after surgery depends on numerous factors: Type of operation, recovery time, location of surgery and type of device you’ll need after surgery. One recent study examined that last factor in order to determine how footwear impacts emergency braking times.
For their study, participants were outfitted for one of three different types of shoewear: Running shoes, an Aircast Walker or a standard walking cast. Researchers then put participants through two different studies. The first test examined a person’s braking time without a distraction factor, and the second study added a distractor. The results from the studies found:
In the first study without a distractor:
- Those with running shoes had a mean emergency brake time of 0.452 second.
- Those with the Walker Aircast had a mean emergency brake time of 0.480 second.
- Those with a walking cast had a mean emergency time of 0.512 second.
The second study with a distractor yielded similar but slightly different results:
- Participants with running shoes had a mean emergency braking time of 0.489 second.
- Participants with the Walker Aircast had a mean emergency brake time of 0.516 second.
- Participants with a walking cast had a mean emergency time of 0.510 second.
Researchers concluded that people with an immobilization device on their right leg have lengthened emergency braking times and advised they make smart decisions in regards to driving after surgery.
Dr. Silverman Comments
Driving after surgery instructions can be confusing for my patients. I always tell them, “there is no law that says you cannot drive with your left foot,” but I warn them their break reaction time is increased with these devices, and until trained, brake time is also increased with left foot driving. We have known this data for a while now.
I don’t tell my patients to use the broken limb. I tell them that they need to consider the safety of themselves and others when driving.
Taking time to prepare for post-surgery life
prior to your operation is important. That means getting food ready, preparing to have enough books and other media to keep you busy and securing transportation. Whether that means using you left foot by practicing before surgery or relying on friends and family is up to the patient. Also, even if you practice with your left foot and become a better driver, your insurance could still hold your surgically repaired foot against you. Fair or not, it’s still a rule to follow.
Related source: The Journals of Foot and Ankle Surgery