Arthritis and Driving

Friday, July 15, 2011

Whether youre taking a joy ride or running errands, driving means independence. Arthritis causes pain, fatigue, limited range-of-motion and other limitations that impact your function and can affect your driving ability. Dr. Edward Hill discusses arthritis and driving in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

For most people, driving represents freedom, control and independence. It is important economically to many who may drive to or from work and as part of their job.

Individuals with arthritis have difficulty with activities of daily living, including safe driving. Swollen and stiff joints can limit how far one can bend or move shoulders, hands, head and neck. This can make it harder to grasp or turn a steering wheel, apply the brake and gas pedals, put on a safety belt or look over your shoulders to check your blind spot. It can also cause more difficulty in getting in and out of a car.

Trained occupational therapists can evaluate drivers with arthritis and make recommendations regarding safe driving. These recommendations may include adaptive equipment, such as spinner knobs, extra convex mirrors, transfer assist tools, key holders/turners and gas cap tools. It may be determined that the individual is no longer safe to drive, and the occupational therapist will offer alternative transportation strategies.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.