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Experiencing tenderness behind my knees on and off for a long period now. Do I go to the GP for referral or can I seek a specialist directly?

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Dr. Hamid R
Facilitator
Doctor
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Dear @jchua ,
I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing tenderness in your knees. Given the chronicity of your symptoms, it would be worth a visit to a GP or the polyclinic for further assessment with regards to your symptoms to ascertain a working diagnosis. The polyclinic doctor or the GP can then refer you to a specialist. Of course, you can book yourself into any private specialist clinic on your own too. I hope this helps. 
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@jchua
Thank you Dr. Hamid!
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Dr. Dinesh G
Doctor
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Hi @jchua , I completely agree with Dr. Hamid Razak - although in your age group sports-related injuries or "wear and tear" are common causes of knee pain (especially if it worsens with activity), there are several other possibilities such as vein- or nerve-related problems. Therefore, the answer to your question ultimately depends on whether this is the first time you experience this - if you've had a recent injury, or if there are any other changes in which case you should definitely first have a review with a GP to evaluate what the potential causes of this may be.

As a GP, examples of changes I would look for include leg numbness, calf/ankle swelling or prominence of veins in your leg, which determines whether a review with a specialist may be required, and which specialist (if any) would have relevant expertise. If you notice a lump/swelling at the back of your knee joint itself (when you compare it to the other side), or if the discomfort is a long-standing problem that you had checked by GPs before, you may need a review with an Orthopaedic specialist for further assessment.

That said - do note that for certain government subsidy programs or insurers, you may be required to obtain a referral from polyclinics or GPs to be able to claim the charges. If this is not a concern, you can certainly book an appointment with a specialist directly. There are many knowledgable Orthopaedic specialists you can find online, including Dr. Ken Jin Tan who has a background in Sports Medicine, and you can find out more/get in touch via his website: https://orthosports.com.sg/our-doctor/dr-tan-ken-jin/ 
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@jchua
Thank you Dr Dinesh. Interim findings by the GP after seeing the MRI is a ligament tear. Will need to be referred to Orthopaedics for follow up. Will definitely take into consideration your recommendation of Orthopaedic specialists! Thank you for the detailed reply.