Open Access Research article

Timeframe for return to driving for patients with minimally invasive knee arthroplasty is associated with knee performance on functional tests

Hsuan-Ti Huang1, Jing-Min Liang2, Wei-Tso Hung2, Ying-Yi Chen2, Lan-Yuen Guo2 and Wen-Lan Wu2*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Adult Reconstruction Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

2 Department of Sports Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 701, Taiwan

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:198  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-198

Published: 10 June 2014



This study hopes to establish the timeframe for a safe return to driving under different speed conditions for patients after minimally invasive total knee arthroplasty and further explores how well various kinds of functional tests on knee performance can predict the patients’ braking ability.


14 patients with right knee osteoarthritis were included in the present study and instructed to perform three simulated driving tasks at preoperative, 2 weeks postoperative and 4 weeks postoperative.


The results showed that the total braking time at 4 week postoperative has attained the preoperative level at the driving speed 50 and 70 km/hr but not at the driving speed 90 km/hr. It had significantly improving in knee reaction time and maximum isometric force at 4 weeks postoperative. Besides, there was a moderate to high correlation between the scores of the step counts and the total braking time.


Summary, it is recommended that driving may be resumed 4 weeks after a right knee replacement but had to drive at low or moderate speed and the best predictor of safety driving is step counts.

Knee Osteoarthritis; Total knee arthroplasty; Braking reaction time; Knee functional test