Driving with a Quadriceps Tendon Rupture

You’ll never really appreciate driving until you
lost the ability to do so.

When I incurred my injury in 2007 I had landed a job a few days prior to the accident. I was supposed to start a few days after my surgery. Having been advised by my doctor soon after surgery that I wasn’t supposed to drive for several weeks, I became very stressed out on what to do about my situation.

I brainstormed on how I could get to work. The job was computer support so I would be sitting all day which was something I could do, but how was I going to get to the job. My parents lived in Monroe and my friends all worked jobs so taxiing me around was not an option. It turned out that I didn’t let my employer know soon enough about my surgery and such and so I was basically let go from a job I didn’t even start. Oh well, probably for the better I said. I still had my eBay business to bring in daily income so all was good in my book. My recovery was my primary importance. However, the extra income from this job would have helped with the medical expenses I incurred since I didn’t have any medical insurance.

So what I did was to focus on my internet business and the rehabilitation of my leg. The one main hurdle I had was that with my internet business I needed to go to the post office to drop off my orders and I had to do this several times a week if not daily. I knew about USPS pick up service request, but unfortunately that didn’t apply to international orders and 70% of my business was international. In the beginning my father helped out with taking me to the post office to drop of my orders, but I couldn’t ask him to continue to do that since he was coming all the way from Monroe. I didn’t really have friends that were readily accessible so I decided to go against the docs orders and figure out a way to drive myself.

My Trusty Steed – 2001 Nissan Xterra 
which I still have to this day!

Driving itself wasn’t such a big issue, getting into my SUV was. My ride was and still is a 2001 Nissan Xterra. It has been a wonderful car for me and this year I will have had it for over 10 years. Now the Xterra sits high off the ground so getting my right leg in was a bitch especially since it had to remain as straight as possible.

In the beginning I would try to lift the leg up and into the car but there were a lot of painful moments. I finally figured out that using a small towel or bandanna to wrap and lift up my brace and get my leg in was the ticket. Then I realized that I needed my butt to be lifted a little bit higher so my leg could remain straight without it being an issue to drive and also so it wouldn’t be painful.

So I figured a pillow or something under my butt to sit on would elevate me and help make my leg straighten out and as I suspected, it worked out perfectly. I sat higher which straightened out my leg and I was now able to drive. Now bear in mind that this worked for me cause my car had an automatic transmission. If you have a manual transmission it is going to be quite another story I am sure there is a work-a-round since all you really need is your feet to shift and brake, but I can’t be sure since my experience was with an automatic. As long as your leg is straight all should be OK is what I suspect.

Now please understand, I am not condoning driving while injured, however sometimes you need to do what needs to be done especially if you have no other choice or workarounds. If you are in the position of having someone to help and do your daily tasks, then you have it made. But for some of us, like me who didn’t have easy access to help, you have to make due with other ways. And sometimes ‘other’ ways is the only way possible.

Looking back now, driving while being in my leg brace really wasn’t that big of a deal. It was more of a morality issue because I felt I was going against doctors orders, but I didn’t do any harm to my leg(s) so all was OK. I will post a YouTube video that will show how I got in and out of my vehicle since I still have the braces as well as the same car. Stay tuned…

About the author: Steven Gartner

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