Joint Pain Terminology and English for Medical Purposes

Doctor examining patients elbow

Universal Images Group / Getty Images

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. A comprehension and vocabulary review quiz follow 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 to 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. 


  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 _________?


  1. fatigue/weakness
  2. under
  3. inflammation / swelling
  4. weight
  5. aspirin/ibuprofen
  6. joints
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Joint Pain Terminology and English for Medical Purposes." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Beare, Kenneth. (2023, April 5). Joint Pain Terminology and English for Medical Purposes. Retrieved from Beare, Kenneth. "Joint Pain Terminology and English for Medical Purposes." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 6, 2023).