Frisbee Finger, Video Game Palsy, Joggers' Nipples, Jeans Folliculitis. Those are some of the wry contemporary conditions that have been reported by doctors in The New England Journal of Medicine.

But the physicians who write letters to the most august of medical journals are far from wholly concerned with these exquisitely modern maladies. They are more concerned with real illness and often with the pain it produces. Take these offerings from the new book "Hunan Hand and Other Ailments: Letters to the New England Journal of Medicine" (Little Brown, $15.95):

From Dr. T. Salerno of Montreal on a patient's pained response to some inhumane conversation:

"A 65-year-old diabetic man had for about eight months been seen for an infected toe . . . He was obviously depressed although his legs and feet were much improved . . . {We} had little success in trying to understand this man's depression until he said, 'They are interested in my toe only. These are some of the things I overheard:

"Doctor, would you please see this infected toe?"

"The toe in room 8 seems to be healing."

"Orderly, could you take the infected toe to the X-ray department?"

"I wish we could get rid of this infected toe because it has been here for ages."

" '. . . For the rest of the world, I am a toe, an infected toe. Why can't they look at me as a human being in need of total body care?' "

From Dr. Joseph Sapira of the University of South Alabama, on pain:

"Dr. Spiro writes that it is a burden for the physician 'to describe which pain is real and which imaginary.'

"In fact, this decision can be arrived at quite simply: Pain occurring in unicorns, griffins and jabberwockies is always imaginary pain, since these are imaginary animals. Patients, on the other hand, are real, and so they always have real pain."

From Dr. Brent Blue of Jackson, Wyo., on the stress of playing God:

"Recently my life was saved by a lay person after a mountain-climbing accident . . . I saw my rescuer as heroic -- and felt toward him the sort of gratitude I have never before felt toward anyone. I was overcome with anxiety about the proper way to thank someone for this God-like gift . . .

"Being on both sides of this sort of gratitude has given me insight into my behavior as a physician . . . How does one accept thanks from a patient whose life has been saved? Does the fact that it was a simple procedure or action make it harder to accept these thanks or easier? It is as difficult and stressful a business to be thanked as to thank . . .

"Physicians are frequently criticized for egocentric attitudes, and certainly in many cases this criticism is justified. Yet patients project on us a superhuman power. How can we in our profession avoid absorbing these attitudes when in fact we perform some incredibly helpful, dramatic, pain-relieving and life-saving acts as part of our daily work?

"We are certainly fortunate to have the opportunity to be intimately involved in the lives of our fellow human beings . . . Perhaps the best way to accept thanks from patients whom we have helped is to thank them for giving us the opportunity to help -- that may be their greatest gift to us." ::

In a section on doctors' "chronic language deficiency," the "Hunan Hand" book's editor, Shirley Blotnick Moskow, writes: "Erudite and brilliant though physicians may be, many fail to speak English intelligibly . . . No wonder patients sometimes wish that MD stood for 'more dialogue.' "

A letter from Boston Drs. Anthony Young and Nicholas Tilney says it all: "The language of medicine was once Latin. Then in the interests of clarity it became English. Now a separate language has appeared: 'Medispeak.' "

"We should not have patients but 'a patient population,' " Young and Tilney sarcastically wrote. "Not a crisis but 'a crisis situation' . . . Our patients do not breathe -- they have a 'respiratory status.' They are clothed not in skin but an 'integumentary apparatus' . . . They do not walk, they 'ambulate.' They do not die but merely reach 'the terminal event' . . . A 'critical review' is so much more significant than a mere opinion . . . A 'misadventure' is less reprehensible than a mistake . . .

"The use of words to cloud meaning or to inflate the status of the speaker may have value for bureaucrats and politicians, but similar distortions of language, however ingenuous, have no place in medicine."

Ms. Moskow has a phrase for obfuscating or other obnoxious docs:

"Hippocratic oafs."