English for Medical Purposes: Joint Pain

Doctor examining patients elbow
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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. 

Joint Pain

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 opposite 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) inflammation

Check 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.
  6. Are you having any pain in your _________?

Answers

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