Depending on the location of osteoarthritis, a patient’s driving capability can be impaired and can show significantly increased total braking distance, according to recently published results.
German researchers equipped a car cabin with pressure sensors on the accelerator and brake pedals to measure reaction time (RT), movement time (MT), total brake response time (TBRT) and maximum brake force under realistic spatial constraints. Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip were compared to a healthy control group.
Study results showed the control group recorded a median TBRT of 488 milliseconds and no participant in the control group exceeded a median TBRT of 600 milliseconds. While osteoarthritis (OA) of the left hip did not impair driving ability, researchers found OA of the right hip or knee significantly prolonged the patient’s braking performance. However, OA of the left knee prolonged RT and MT to the same degree as OA of the contralateral side, according to the study results.
I recommend that my patients with advanced OA of right hip, and in advanced stages of OA of the right or left knee, reconsider driving if possible.