Why You Should Let Your Hand Heal Before Driving After A Hand Surgery

If you have had a hand surgery, then you should not operate a motor vehicle until you heal. You may find it dangerous to drive after a hand injury or surgery due to the:

Plaster Cast

Driving with a plaster cast is not safe, even if you feel that you can "handle it." Conventional plaster casts that restrict finger movements are the worst because you need your fingers to change the gear or even turn the wheel. Of course, there are functional splints that are meant to make it easier to drive, but it is up to you to ensure that your splint is not getting in the way.


Even if you have removed the splint, you may still find it difficult to drive due to residual pain. Pain affects your ability to drive in several ways, for example:

  • Focusing on the pain reduces your level of focus on the road or awareness of the surrounding. Therefore, you become more prone to accidents through unawareness.
  • You become a risky driving if you feel intense pain when making certain hand movements. For example, if you can't make a sudden hand movement, then you may fail to make a sudden turn to avoid an obstacle on the road.
  • If you have to take painkillers to drive, then the drugs may make you drowsy, excited or nauseous and less aware of your surroundings. Again, having all these effects mean that you will not be a good driver.


If you have stitches, then you should be careful while driving because a sudden movement of the hand can burst them. That would require re-stitching, which results in a setback of your healing progress. Burst sutures can also cause a great deal of pain, something that you would not want to experience while executing an emergency maneuver on the road. You also need to cover the sutures to keep them clean and infection free, and the covering material may also hinder your driving.

Reduced Range of Motion

Some forms of surgery also reduce your range of hand movement. Examples are surgeries involving the bony structure of your hands. You may find it difficult to clasp things (such as the wheel) after such an injury. Your physician or hand therapist will advise on the appropriate range of motion exercises to help with the healing. It is up to you and your doctor to determine when you are ready to get back on the road.

Apart from medications, physical therapy at a facility like Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital plays a great role in healing after a hand injury.  Remember you will be legally held responsible for any accident or incident you incur while driving with an injured hand. Therefore, you should work with your doctor and physical therapist to get your hands back to normal before you can start driving.