Driving After ACL Surgery

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Another commonly asked question for people going into surgery is when are they able to drive again after ACL surgery. ACL Surgery can really impact your life, the loss of mobility from knee surgery can greatly reduce the number of things you are capable of doing. Driving is a part of our lives and not being able to drive will take away many peoples ability to earn a living. One of the quickest ways to regain your life after acl surgery is by being bake to drive again, here is the typical stage on your ACL surgery recovery timeline that you will be able to drive again…

The answer to “When can I drive after ACL surgery” depends on 2 main things

1. Which leg did you have surgery on

2. Do you drive an automatic or standard

Based on this there are 4 scenerios

A. Left Leg ACL Surgery – Driving an Automatic

A few days to one week

If you fall in this category than you are lucky and will be able to drive as soon as the pain meds wear off, a few days to 1 week is typical. However, make sure your leg is not in a lowered position for long as you will still have swelling problems, no more than a 15 minute drive and start slowly.

B. Left Leg ACL Surgery – Driving a Standard

one to two weeks

You will need to use the clutch, unless your drive a really cool car(see picture below),  for this your leg will need to be able to be weight bearing. If you are capable of holding it up and moving your foot up and down along with some weight bearing than you are ready to start driving (if you are comfortable). The important thing is obviously safety and as long as your Left leg wont affect you using the break than the worst that will happen is some damage to your

Driving after acl surgery

Standard Car You Can Drive After LACL Surgery

C & D. Right Leg ACL Surgery – Driving an Automatic or Standard

two to six weeks

If you had surgery on your right knee than you are going to have to wait awhile to be able to drive again. You need to be able to hit the brakes quickly if you encounter a situation that warrants it. Because of this you need to be able to 100% weight bear and and move up and down 10 degrees on your one leg(you can hold something for balance. This test is meant to ensure you have enough strength to push the brakes in an emergency.

Final Tip – Take it slow, the timeline above is just my thoughts on what I think is reasonable…everyone is different and make sure to not drive until you are 100% confident you can.

Good luck and I wish everyone a fast recovery!



The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery

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Comments

  1. Jon Haver says:

    How long after surgery was it for other people until they were able to drive?

  2. I waited 4 weeks to drive (automatic) . I probably would have been ok by week 3.

    ps My right knee was operated and only my acl was fixed.

  3. I had a right knee ACL repair with hamstring graft this April and was able to drive (automatic) 11 days after surgery with no trouble at all.

  4. Hi,

    Nice site. I had ACL reconstruction on my right knee on 7/26/2011 and one week later I was driving myself to work. My wife even called the nurse to check if I am allowed to drive and they concluded it was OK.

    Everyone is different but here are some factors that was instrumental for my driving:

    - I had donor ACL (cadaver). Recovery is generally faster. I also had some meniscus cut which was cleaned up in the surgery. There was no other damage.

    - Prior to the surgery, I was in pretty good shape as I could walk 1.5hr (partially torn ACL). Since I could not do many sports, I walked at nights almost every night.

    - I had reduced the narcotic painkiller to 1 in 6-8 hrs in 3rd day (down from 2 pills every 6 hours) and completely stopped using it on the 5th. Took only off-the shelf IB for another week. You need to be off the narcotic painkiller at least a couple of days before you should try to drive!

    - I am driving a pick-up truck with automatic transmission and there was plenty of space for my leg in brace. I had basically stopped using crutches at this point.

    - My driving distance is around 10-15 miles so was comfortable enough during the trip.

  5. I had ACL surgery done on my left knee back and it took me (if I remember correctly) 6-8 weeks before I could start driving my stick shift again. The therapist said it was okay since my knee was only going in a forward motion as opposed to side to side. Also, it acted as an exercise too :)
    I had to drive about 48 miles total a day, so my knee held up fine…it was just a bit sore the first week, but as it got stronger, it didn’t bother me at all.

  6. I had ACL reconstruction on my right knee 4 weeks back. I am able to drive short distances (Automatic Shift). I am planning to go to office myself starting next week.

  7. I also had right leg ACL surgery (hamstring graft) and waited four weeks to drive a manual. Havent gone too far and that seemed about right. Did a few very short drives in our other car, an automatic, after about 2.5 weeks but used my left foot for braking.

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