English for Medical Purposes - Joint Pain

Doctor examining patients elbow. Getty / Universal Images Group

Joint Pain

Read the following dialogue between a patient and her doctor as they discuss joint pain during an appointment. Practice the dialogue with a friend so you can feel more confident the next time you visit the doctor. There's a comprehension and vocabulary review quiz following the dialogue. 

Patient: Good morning. Doctor Smith?
Doctor: Yes, please come in.

Patient: Thank you. My name is Doug Anders.


Doctor: What have you come in for today Mr Anders?

Patient: I've been having some pain in my joints, especially the knees.
Doctor: How long have you been having the pain?

Patient: I'd say it started three or four months ago. It's been getting worse recently.
Doctor: Are you having any other problems like weakness, fatigue or headaches?

Patient: Well I've certainly felt under the weather.
Doctor: Right. How much physical activity do you get? Do you play any sports?

Patient: Some. I like to play tennis about once a week. I take my dog on a walk every morning.
Doctor: OK. Let's have a look. Can you point to the area where you are having pain?

Patient: It hurts right here. 
Doctor: Please stand up and put weight on your knees. Does this hurt? How about this? 

Patient: Ouch! 
Doctor: It seems you have some inflammation in your knees. However, there's nothing broken.

Patient: That's a relief!
Doctor: Just take some ibuprofen or aspirin and the swelling should go down.

You'll feel better after that.

Patient: Thank you!

Key Vocabulary

joint pain = (noun) the connection points of the body where two bones connect including wrists, ankles, knees
knees = (noun) the connection point between your upper and lower legs
weakness = (noun) the apposite of strength, feeling like you have little energy
fatigue = (noun) overall tiredness, low energy
headache = (noun) a pain in your head that is steady
to feel under the weather = (verb phrase) not feel well, not feel as strong as usual
physical activity = (noun) exercise of any kind
to have a look = (verb phrase) to check something or someone
to have pain = (verb phrase) to hurt 
to put your weight on something = (verb phrase) put the weight of your body onto something directly
inflammation = (noun) swelling 
ibuprofen / aspirin = (noun) common pain medicine that also helps reduce swelling
swelling = (noun) inflammationCheck your understanding with this multiple choice comprehension quiz.

Comprehension Quiz

Choose the best answer for each question about the dialogue.

1. What seems to be Mr. Smith's problem?

 Broken knees
 Fatigue
 Joint pain

2. Which joints are bothering him the most?

 Elbow
 Wrist
 Knees

3. How long has he been having this problem?

 three or four years
 three or four months
 three or four weeks

4. Which other problem does the patient mention?

 He's felt under the weather.
 He's been vomiting.
 He doesn't mention another problem.

5. Which phrase best describes the amount of exercise the patient gets?

 He works out a lot.
 He gets some exercise, not a lot.
 He doesn't get any exercise.

6. What's Mr Anders problem?

He has broken his knees.
He has some swelling in his knees.
He has broken a joint. 

Answers

  1. Joint pain
  2. Knees
  3. Three or four months
  4. He's felt under the weather.
  5. He gets some exercise, not a lot.
  6. He has some swelling in his knees. 

Vocabulary Review

Fill in the gap with a word or phrase from the dialogue.

  1. I've had a lot of  ______________ for more than a week. I'm really tired!
  2. Are you feeling __________ the weather today?
  3. I'm afraid I have some ________________ around my eyes. What should I do?
  4. Could you please put your ______________ on your left foot?
  5. Take some ________________ and stay home for two days.
  1. Are you having any pain in your _________?

Answers

  1. fatigue / weakness
  2. under
  3. inflammation / swelling
  4. weight
  5. aspirin / ibuprofen
  6. joints

More Practice Dialogues

Troubling Symptoms - Doctor and Patient
Joint Pain - Doctor and Patient
A Physical Examination - Doctor and Patient
Pain that Comes and Goes - Doctor and Patient
A Prescription - Doctor and Patient
Feeling Queasy - Nurse and Patient
Helping a Patient - Nurse and Patient
Patient Details - Administration Staff and Patient