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Driving A Stick Shift After a TKR

Hi everyone! Something recently happened that I thought was worthy of sharing with others living with a tkr. It involves driving a manual transmission with a tkr in place. Driving a stick is fun, challenging, and keeps a driver in better control of a vehicle – when compared to an automatic transmission. However, what is it like to shift gears with a tkr leg? I had that chance…

I learned how to drive on a stick shift. I enjoyed the challenge and control. It gave me a far greater appreciation for the driving task and the marvels of an automobile. I loved it! There is far better control of the vehicle in conditions involving inclement weather…like snow, ice, heavy rains, etc. Driving a stick means the driver determines when the car shifts to the next level, not a computer chip or other device that the driver has no control over.

That was 40 years ago, though. What would it be like now that I have a tkr on my left leg, the leg used to engage the clutch pedal? Would I be able to drive the vehicle? Would I remember how to coordinate the clutch with the gear shift? It would be interesting.

At first, I was admittedly scared and very curious. I wasn’t sure whether my tkr leg would bend enough to handle the shifting. I envisioned blowing up an engine or gasket at the very least. My confidence was questionable. So…I took the car on a test run around the parking lot.

I engaged the clutch, put the car into first, put the key into the ignition, turned the ignition key, and slowly started moving. I maneuvered the car out of the parking space, made right and left hand turns, came to stop signs, applied the brakes, started moving, and made it back home. I even utilized reverse without hitting anything. I pulled into parking spaces without crashing into anything. IT WAS A BLAST!! Whew! I did this for two days before venturing out into the “real” world.

I was amazed about how the entire process of driving a stick was similar to riding a bike. No one had to tell me anything, it just came back to me. How nice…:)

As I started driving in traffic, I noticed that utilizing the clutch one stop light after another was becoming tiring. I never realized how much the leg is exercising while performing this maneuver. The process seemed to trigger the neuropathy left from my removed bone spurs. (I have written about the neuropathy in other posts…) In hindsight, that is probably one reason I was so tired the remaining day and night.

Still…I would do it again in a heart beat. I love the sound of gears shifting, motors revving up, and knowing I have that control. Long live manual transmissions!

Does anyone else have stories to share about driving a stick (manual transmission) after a tkr? We want to hear them!

Hope this helps others going through the same thing. Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

2 comments to Driving A Stick Shift After a TKR

  • I’ll let you know how the stick shift goes once spring gets here! I had both knees replaced about a month ago, was released to drive last week, but have not done it yet. My other half has a Subaru — automatic tranny — but my “baby” is a 1990 Toyota pick up with a manual transmission. I have had “Artie” for years, he’s rather beat up now, but is my farm truck and since I we have the all-wheel drive rig, I don’t run him in the winter so any time we are out, I have guys wanting to buy him off me. NOT happening, though! I don’t do a lot of town driving with him — like I said, he’s a farm truck so it mostly to the feed store, hauling manure, etc. but I will take to heart your observation regarding extra exercise of the left leg and related fatigue! Thanks for the heads up!

  • Hi JJ,
    Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your tkr comment. It is the most entertaining one I have received. 🙂 I love your story about “Artie”. Good luck with the upcoming spring drives. Keep in touch and good luck!

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