Skip to main content

How Soon Can I Drive After Breaking My Foot?

When you first break your foot, it’s pretty clear you won’t be running marathons soon or even taking a stroll around the block. You probably need crutches, a cast, and a brace to give your foot the time off it needs.

Even though you can’t join the foot traffic, you wonder if that means you must also refrain from car traffic. After all, you don’t need to put much weight on your foot when you drive. Does that mean you can press the pedal to the metal and get going again?

The timeline for driving after a foot fracture depends on many issues, which vary by individual and type of fracture. Work closely with your physician to learn about the importance of recovery and rehab, discuss your driving needs, and ask for their professional recommendation.

At Cortez Foot and Ankle Specialists, our providers diagnose, treat, and rehab foot fractures at our offices in Bradenton, University Park, and Ellenton, Florida. When we treat your fracture, we also give you a rough timeline for your recovery, including how long it will take until it’s safe to drive.

Is your fractured foot pedal ready? Read on to see.

How agile is your broken foot?

It’s not strictly illegal to drive with a fractured foot. However, the law requires that you be able to control your vehicle at all times. A foot that’s inhibited by a cast or brace can’t accelerate or brake quickly or with finesse.

If you got into or caused an accident while driving with a fractured foot, you could be charged with negligent or reckless driving if you have an accident. In addition to talking to us about your recovery timeline, check with your insurance provider. Their policies may determine when it’s safe to get behind the wheel with a broken foot.

Which foot did you break?

When the fracture is on your right foot, you must wait until the bones heal, and we remove your cast or walking boot. In general, that takes 6-8 weeks. If your fracture is complex, recovery and rehab may take longer.

Even after we remove your cast, you might not be able to drive right away. When your foot is immobilized, the muscles and bones atrophy and weaken. You may only be able to drive once you have extensive physical therapy to restore strength and your full range of motion.

If you have an automatic transmission, your left foot fracture may not prevent you from driving. However, you must be able to get your broken foot completely and comfortably into the car. The cast or boot interferes with your right foot’s ability to brake and accelerate.

However, if you have a manual transmission, you’re out of luck. It would help to wait until your left foot completely heals before taking the driver’s seat again. 

Are you on pain meds?

The mechanical challenges of driving with a cast or walking boot might be obvious. However, it would help if you also considered your foot pain and how it affects your mental focus.

For instance, if you need surgery to realign and stabilize your fractured bones, you may need medication to relieve your pain. It’s not safe to drive when taking pain medications: Pain meds make your brain sluggish and slow your reaction time.

Whether you use medication or not, you may discover that your foot pain increases when you drive. As a general guideline, avoid activities that cause foot pain when healing from a broken foot. Pain also dulls your reaction time and diverts your attention, putting you at risk of having an accident.

How severe is your injury?

The more severe your fracture, the longer you must immobilize the foot and abstain from driving. A severe fracture, particularly requiring surgery, also extends the timeline. It would help if you rehabilitated the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support your foot before attempting to drive.

You may also have suffered nerve damage in your fracture. When your nerves are damaged, they may cause tingling, pain, or numbness. Nerve damage can also affect how well and quickly you can move your foot muscles. You may only be able to drive once your nerve and mobility issues improve.

How healthy are you?

Your recovery can accelerate or slow to a crawl depending on your age, overall health, diet, and adherence to your recovery plan. You must eat sufficient protein, vitamins, and minerals, for instance, to give your tissues the nutrients they need to rebuild themselves.

If you don’t follow your self-care guidelines, your bones may never fully heal. For example, if we recommend resting your foot but you spend too much time walking, the bones may fail to heal. 

Are you eager to return to the driver’s seat with your broken foot? Please stay safe and contact Cortez Foot and Ankle Specialists for an evaluation today by calling or booking an appointment online at one of our offices.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How a Better Pair of Shoes Can Prevent Ankle Sprains

How a Better Pair of Shoes Can Prevent Ankle Sprains

You’ve just recovered from a sprained ankle and you have no desire to repeat that unpleasant and inconvenient experience. In addition to strengthening your ankle through rehab and daily exercises and stretches, be sure to find the right shoes, too.
Does Toenail Fungus Resolve on Its Own?

Does Toenail Fungus Resolve on Its Own?

The medical world hates to say “never” because everyone is different. So, there’s a slight chance it could, but most experts agree that toenail fungus probably won’t resolve on its own. Learn why that is and why you shouldn’t ignore fungal nails.

3 Ankle Sprain Grades and How to Treat Them

An ankle sprain can feel like a twinge or a stabbing red-hot poker. The actual medical severity of the sprain dictates treatment. Here’s what you need to know about ankle sprains.

Tips for Preventing Hammertoe

Straight, healthy toes don’t just look better; they function better, too. With foresight and good habits, you can keep your feet functional and avoid deformities, such as hammertoes, which make shoe-fitting and even walking uncomfortable. Here’s how.