When seeking medical care in Singapore, the first thing that comes to mind for most would be to visit a general practitioner, or GP. After all, a GP doctor is usually more accessible and is also a safe bet if you aren’t sure what your affliction is. However, there are times when consulting directly with a specialist, such as an orthopaedic surgeon, might be a better, time-saving choice — especially if you are experiencing joint and muscle discomfort. Read on as we delve into the differences between the two types of physicians and signs you should be seeing an orthopaedic doctor.
Orthopaedic Doctor vs GP: What’s the Difference?
As its name suggests, a general practitioner provides treatments and advice for general health conditions. They are primary care physicians who serve as the first point of contact for patients seeking a diagnosis or medication for common illnesses. However, if a patient requires specialised treatment, the GP will then refer patients to relevant specialists, occasionally aiding to coordinate and set up the initial appointment.
On the other hand, an orthopaedic doctor specialises in treating injuries and conditions affecting the body’s musculoskeletal system. This system involves bones, joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments, soft tissues, and cartilage. Orthopaedic doctors are able to diagnose, treat, and advise on suitable rehabilitation and prevention strategies, which include major surgery.
When to See an Orthopaedic Specialist in Singapore
1. Chronic pain in joints & bones
Have you been experiencing long-term pain in your joints and bones that persisted for more than 12 weeks? If so, you are likely having chronic pain. When pain continues even after undergoing medication and treatment, or if you are uncertain of the pain’s source, it is best to seek professional help.
2. Difficulty performing everyday tasks
If you struggle with basic everyday activities such as climbing stairs, carrying a bag, or doing household chores due to your pain and discomfort, that is a sure sign that something more serious might be going on. Treating your constant pain with painkillers is not sustainable in the long run and greatly impacts one’s quality of life.
3. Reduced motion or stiffness in joints
If your joints feel progressively stiffer or even more painful during periods of rest, you might want to consult an orthopaedic surgeon. Limited range of motion might be an indicator of arthritis, which typically worsens with age.
4. Soft tissue injury lasting over 48 hours
Examples of soft tissue injury include bruises, sprains, and muscle strains. When pain from a soft tissue injury, such as a sports injury, persists or worsens after two days, be sure to get it checked at an orthopaedic clinic.
5. Instability while walking or standing
Feeling wobbly or unable to balance with standing up, sitting down, or walking? That could signify underlying joint and muscle problems. An orthopaedic doctor can assess and determine the cause and help you correct it.
How an Orthopaedic Doctor Can Help
Should you face any of the situations mentioned above, an orthopaedic surgeon will have the relevant knowledge and expertise to provide specialised treatment to aid in your recovery. They can assist in facilitating your rehabilitation by developing a personalised treatment plan. From common conditions such as aches and sprains to complex surgical procedures like knee replacement surgery, orthopaedic specialists will be able to recommend suitable healthcare measures for you to enjoy a pain-free life. Learn more about the factors to consider when selecting an orthopaedic physician here.
If you have any queries about a specific condition, or if you would like to seek orthopaedic help in Singapore, you can contact Dr. Gowreeson Thevendran at OrthofootMD.