If you’re like most of my students, you probably get the idea when you hear “dolor” and “duele”; your patients are referring to pain. But are you confident you can use them correctly when you’re talking about pain?
Same goes for “hinchado” and “hinchazón”; you know that they’re describing swelling, but is it clear when you should use “hinchado” vs “hinchazón”?
This Medical Spanish post clarifies the various different words and variations of words you’re used to hearing that describe injuries, wounds and other problems in Spanish.
Here is the Injuries in Spanish lesson I taught this week in Video Viernes:
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Whenever my students are studying injuries in Spanish and wound vocabulary, they always get a little confused about variations of words. For example: dolor & duele.
Part of the problem is that most people aren’t nerdy about language like I am, and that means that you don’t think about what part of speech a word is. As soon as you start separating words into categories, it becomes clearer. The categories of words we’re looking at in this post are verbs, nouns & adjectives (or participles in some cases).
Here is an example of the words I’m referring to that describe wounds and injuries in Spanish:
Often used in the expression:
“se me…..” or “se le….”
Used with “Tener” or “Sentir” or “darle”
Used with “Estar” or “sentirse”
|Confundirse / confundirle||confusión||confundido(a)|
|cortar||cortada / cortadura||cortado(a)|
Let’s look at each column for a moment:
1st Column: Verbs
You will hear (if you don’t already) patients using what is called the SE imprevisto in Spanish. This is a use of the word SE to express an unforseen event or result. For example, you may be aware of the expression: Se me olvidó = “I forgot”.
That could be useful in the medical context, but this expression with other verbs is common as well. Take the verb dislocar for example:
Se me disloca el hombro con frecuencia (present tense) = My shoulder gets out of place (dislocates) frequently – or – I dislocate my shoulder frequently.
Se me dislocó el hombre el mes pasado (past tense) = My shoulder got dislocated last month. – or – I dislocated my shoulder last month.
2nd Column: Nouns
Nouns are things. That means that you can have them, feel them, or something can give them to you. Those are your verb options in Spanish as well: tener, sentir, darle respectively. Let’s look at the noun cortada for example:
La paciente tiene una cortada en el dedo = The patient has a cut on her finger.
Ella siente la cortada cuando dobla el dedo = She feels the cut when she bends her finger.
El cuchillo le dio la cortada en el dedo = The knife gave her the cut on her finger.
3rd Column: Adjectives
Adjectives describe nouns. Adverbs give action details to verbs. And participles are used with the perfect verb tenses to describe what someone has or had done. It turns out that in Spanish, many of these parts of speech are the same word. When using this column of words, you’ll mostly be using the verb Estar or Sentirse. Let’s look at the word adolorido = “sore” or “pained” as an example.
Los músculos están adoloridos = the muscles are sore
La paciente se siente muy adolorida después de hacer unos ejercicios nuevos = The feels very sore after doing some new exercises.
Other verbs that have related nouns and adjectives to describe injuries in Spanish:
Fracturar = to fracture
Hinchar = to swell
Infectar = to infect
Inflamar = to inflame
Lacerar = to lacerate
Magullar = to bruise
Marearse = to get dizzy
Morderle = to bite __
Picarle= to bite __
Quebrar = to break
Quemar = to burn
Rasparse = to scrape
Romper = to break
Tensar / desgarrar = to pull (muscle)
Torcer = to twist / to sprain
Now it’s your turn! I packaged all of this vocabulary in Spanish into some flashcards for you to study.
Keep up the good work speaking responsible Spanish to your patients! Check out our other books, classes & products to help you!
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