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Driving after Shoulder Surgery

Lennard Funk

One of the commonest concerns of patients undergoing shoulder surgery is when they will be able to return to driving their vehicles. On this site and in our information books we provide guidelines for returning to driving. These are based on the time period when you should be able to safely actively move your shoulder without assistance without damaging the surgical repair or causing yourself or others injury due to lack of control.

  • It is a requirement in the UK that a driver uses both arms to control the steering wheel. To be able to do this the driver requires sufficient strength, pain relief and mobility.
  • It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that he/she is in control of the vehicle at all times and to be able to demonstrate that is so, if stopped by the police
  • Drivers should check with their therapist, surgeon and their insurance policy before returning to drive after surgery, particularly if you intend to return earlier than the recommended period provided by your surgeon.
  • Drivers do not need to notify DVLA unless the medical conditions likely to affect safe driving persist for longer than 3 months after the date of surgery.
  • Drivers must not drive under the influence of narcotic medications or within 48 hours after an anaesthetic. 




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