Funny Things Our Patients Say

The Funny Things Our Patients Say

Today’s guest post comes from frequent contributor Trevor Winnegge.  Trevor shares a great, and fun, article on some of the funny things our patients and clients say!  I thought it would be good to mix it up and have a fun article on here!  Even better, I threw in a funny pic of a dog that looks like it is laughing, what a week (photo credit)!  More importantly, Trevor just starts the discussion, please comment and share some of your “Funny Things Our Patients Say” too!


The Funny Things Our Patients Say

Funny Things Our Patients SayAs I Listened to my partial medial menisectomy patient describe his injury to another patient, I had to chuckle to myself. “I blew out my knee. The doctor had to do a complete reconstruction of my meniscus and cartilage.”  It was this statement that lead me to think of the funny things we, as physical therapists, hear on a day to day basis. And it inspired me to write this guest post today.


Rotor Cup

Anyone who has worked in an outpatient setting treating shoulders has no doubt heard this one. Instead of a patient saying rotator cuff, we hear “rotor cup”, “rotatory cup”, “rotor cuff”.  It always comes up and puts us therapists in an awkward position. Do we correct them and say “it is actually called the rotator cuff”? We run the risk of the patient thinking we are rude for correcting them. However, if we use their words and refer to it as “rotor cup”, now others in the room or in society think we are crazy. I always tactfully correct, but still laugh to myself when I hear it.  This never gets old.



Just last week, I evaluated a patient with a fractured fibula. Upon evaluation, I ask the patient “So how did you break your ankle?” I was quickly corrected not once, but twice by the patient. First, they said “I didn’t break my bone, I fractured it.” Well then, I stand corrected. So much for putting it into laymans terms for the patient. What came next was even more priceless, “And it wasn’t my ankle, it was this bone here (pointing), the fibia”. Ahh yes, the fibia. My mistake.


Simply the worst

Another of my favorite patient quotes is “the doctor said it was the worst (insert injury here) they have ever seen.”  Some patients like to glorify their injury, and wear it like a badge of honor. Telling people the doctor has never seen worse is a good way to glorify it for sure.


These are just a few of the MANY funny things we hear on a daily basis from our patients. I encourage everyone to comment on this post with their favorite patient-isms. This should be a fun post! I look forward to reading all of them!


Trevor WinneggeTrevor Winnegge PT,DPT,MS,OCS,CSCS  has been practicing PT for over 13 years. He graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelors in PT and a Master of Science Degree. He also graduated from Temple University with a Doctor of physical therapy degree. He is a board certified specialist in orthopedics and also a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is adjunct faculty at Northeastern University, teaching courses in orthopedics and differential diagnosis. He currently practices at Sturdy Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Associates in Attleboro MA, where he treats many orthopedic and sports medicine patients.


9 replies
  1. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    I overheard a male teenage patient tell the patient next to him that he tore the labia in his shoulder. 😂

  2. Jonathan
    Jonathan says:

    Hello Trevor,

    “Some patients like to glorify their injury, and wear it like a badge of honor.” This comment right here got me laughing. I feel like some people like to exaggerate their pain as if no one has ever witnessed such sheer madness. Definitely nothing near medal of valor status.



  3. Michelle White
    Michelle White says:

    We actually keep a running list of the “interesting” things patients tell us.
    Here’s a sample: “I walk on all types of terrain; grass, gravel & trailer parks.” “Ihave carpal tunnel in my shoulder.” And my favorite is the patient that said her CAM boot was hurting her and on inspection she had a spoon wedged in it.

    • Nancy H.
      Nancy H. says:

      I would tag to that one “Oh, right now it’s a 10/10″… to which I will answer “Don’t move- I’m going to call 911 right now…” That usually starts the recalibration of pain process…

    • James
      James says:

      I am big on patient education, so when I get the old “I have a very high pain tolerance” line, I explain that their pain tolerance may well be very high, but their pain threshold may not be as high. I use tact of course!

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