Learning To Drive Again After a Right Leg Amputation, Injury, or Stroke

Learning To Drive Again After a Right Leg Amputation, Injury, or Stroke

People may lose the use of their right leg or foot for a variety of reasons. In many cases, a traumatic injury - such as a car accident or a fall - can cause nerve damage or other damage to the leg, resulting in loss of function. Other common causes of right leg or foot loss of function include stroke, diabetes, and peripheral artery disease. Stroke, diabetes, and peripheral artery disease all interfere with blood circulation and lead to decreased sensation and/or muscle weakness in the affected leg. 

Arthritis is another common cause of right leg or foot loss of function. Arthritis is a degenerative condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Over time, the bones and cartilage in the leg can become so worn down that they no longer support the joint, resulting in loss of function. 

Finally, some neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, can also lead to loss of function in the right leg or foot. These diseases affect the brain regions responsible for movement and can cause muscle spasms and rigidity, making it difficult to move the affected leg. No matter the cause, the loss of use of the right leg or foot can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. People who experience this type of loss of function often need to use assistive devices, such as a left foot accelerator, portable left foot accelerator, cane or wheelchair, to help them move around. In addition, physical therapy may be necessary to help the person regain some strength and range of motion in the affected limb.

​​Learning to drive again after an amputation or injury due to one of the above can be a daunting task. Still, it is possible to regain independence in your life with the proper modifications and a lot of hard work. The most common shift for a driver with a right-footed amputation is the left-foot pedal accelerator. This pedal accelerator is designed to be installed on the left side of the vehicle, allowing the driver to use their left foot to accelerate and depress the brake pedal with their right foot. 

Other modifications may be necessary depending on the type of amputation and the driver's range of motion. For example, prosthetic limbs may need to be adjusted to reach the pedals, hand controls may need to be installed for those with reduced range of motion in their arms, and additional mirrors may need to be installed to provide a better view of the road. Additionally, it is essential to consult with a certified driving instructor to ensure that the vehicle is modified correctly and that you have the necessary skills and confidence to drive safely. With the correct modifications and a lot of practice, drivers with amputations can regain their independence and enjoy the freedom that comes with driving.

Once the accelerator has been installed, the next step is to learn how to use it properly. This will take some time and practice to get used to, but with the help of a qualified driving instructor, it can be done. It is important to be patient with yourself and to focus on mastering one skill at a time. The instructor should also be aware of your amputation and be able to provide additional support and guidance as needed. In addition to learning how to use the modified accelerator, it will also be important to adjust other aspects of your driving. For example, you may need to learn to turn the steering wheel with one hand instead of two or to use a different hand to shift gears. It is important to take your time with these adjustments and to focus on safety first. 

Once you have mastered the basics of driving with the modified accelerator, it is important to get out on the open road and practice. It may be tempting to stay in familiar areas or to avoid highways, but it is important to make sure you are comfortable driving in all types of conditions. With the help of a qualified driving instructor and a little bit of practice, you can be on the road to success.