Full Length Article| Volume 35, ISSUE 4, P552-557, October 2022

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The role of hand therapy in returning to safe driving following an orthopedic upper extremity injury or surgery

Published:March 01, 2021DOI:


      • Driving is an important daily functional task for many people, but safe driving is often impacted by upper extremity orthopedic injuries.
      • It is likely a compliment to a hand therapist's knowledge to understand the current evidence and guidance on returning to safe driving following an orthopedic injury.
      • Hand therapists can assist preparedness for return to safe driving by helping to maximize functional range of motion and strength in the upper extremity, performing activity analyses of necessary driving tasks, educating on adaptive equipment options and referring to certified driving specialists when needed.
      • Future research is needed on the topic of safe return to driving following an orthopedic upper extremity injury or surgery.
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        • Protzer L.
        Doctor can I drive?: The need for a rational approach to return to driving after musculoskeletal injury.
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      JHT Read for Credit

      Quiz: # 906

      Record your answers on the Return Answer Form found on the tear-out coupon at the back of this issue or to complete online and use a credit card, go to There is only one best answer for each question.
      • # 1.
        A 2020 study (not this one) using simulated driving found that
        • a.
          post Fx patients usually opted to use the center lane when on 3 lane highways
        • b.
          post Fx patients almost never left the right lane
        • c.
          post Fx patients and normals spent an equal amount of time outside their lanes
        • d.
          post Fx patients spent more time outside their lanes than normals
      • # 2.
        Currently ___________________________ for determining return to driving status
        • a.
          only federal police are qualified
        • b.
          only New York and California have adopted written standards and criteria
        • c.
          there are no accepted legal standards or clear criteria
        • d.
          most states have adopted rigid OSHA standards
      • # 3.
        Currently in the US deciding a patient is ready to resume driving rests with the
        • a.
        • b.
          state police
        • c.
          local police
        • d.
          the treating physician or CHT
      • # 4.
        The authors advocate that hand therapists
        • a.
          should take responsibility for making the decision
        • b.
          should not take responsibility for making the decision
        • c.
          should establish a single standard or test for return to driving status
        • d.
          consult with their state DMV in establishing standards and criteria
      • # 5.
        In addition to ROM and strength considerations, car specificity should be incorporated in a patient's rehab program
        • a.
        • b.
      When submitting to the HTCC for re-certification, please batch your JHT RFC certificates in groups of 3 or more to get full credit.