Ankle fractures can be one of the most difficult breaks to overcome. The ankle is a vital part of normal human movement, so any injury to it can greatly hamper even the most basic movements. Basic mobility can be difficult with a fracture, and even simple tasks such as walking and showering can be seriously affected. Driving with an ankle fracture can be a challenge, but it is possible.
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Speak with your doctor to make sure you have clearance to drive. Many patients suffering from extreme pain associated with an ankle fracture are on painkillers that can severely affect their ability to drive. Your ability to drive will also depend on the type of cast. If you are in a standard plaster cast, you should not drive, because there is no weight-bearing support in that type of cast. If you’ve been fitted with a walking cast, driving should be fine because of the extra support in the cast.
Review your local traffic laws to make sure it is legal to drive with a broken ankle. Traffic codes vary from state to state, but in many jurisdictions it is illegal to drive if there is something that impedes normal driving ability, such as medications or an injury. You should also check with your insurance company, in case there is a clause against driving with an impairing injury.
Ask a friend or relative to drive your car to a safe location, such as an empty car park. It can be difficult learning how to drive with a cast, so practice in a low-traffic area. Be sure the lot is free from major damage and obstructions.
Sit in the driver’s seat and adjust the seat to accommodate your cast. You might have to move the seat back slightly because of the length of the cast. Before you start driving, adjust your mirrors to provide good visibility all around.
Position yourself comfortably, making sure to buckle your seat belt. If your vehicle is an automatic, you can easily drive with either your casted foot or your normal foot, depending on which works better for you. If your vehicle is a standard, you will have to use both feet.
Start your vehicle and shift it into gear and drive as you normally would, taking care to check around before proceeding. Take off slowly, making sure your ankle is holding up to the stress of driving. Your cast will make your leg heavier, so you will have to adjust how hard you press on the gas or brake pedals.
Tips and warnings
- Be sure to practice driving in short sessions if you feel any pain or discomfort.
- You do not want to place too much stress on your ankle and risk reinjury, so take it easy until you are fully healed.
- Never drive while taking any pain medication. Most painkillers depress your nervous system and slow your reflexes, making driving extremely dangerous. If you must drive, hold off taking your medication until you arrive at your destination.
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