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November 04, 2013

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

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

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.
HOW: Contact the AAOS public relations department at 847-384-4035 to schedule an interview with Drs. Marecek or Schafer.


Frequently asked questions on driving after orthopaedic surgery.


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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Lauren Pearson Riley
phone: 847-384-4031
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