The Efficacy of Using Search Engines in Procuring Information About Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Problems from the World Wide Web

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This study has attempted to demonstrate the feasibility of obtaining information specific to foot and ankle orthopaedics from the World Wide Web (WWW). Six search engines (Lycos, AltaVista, Infoseek, Excite, Webcrawler, and HotBot) were used in scanning the Web for the following key words: "cavus foot," "diabetic foot," "hallux valgus," and "pes equinovarus." Matches were classified by language, provider, type, and relevance to medical professionals or to patients. Sixty percent (407 sites) of the visited websites contained information intended for use by physicians and other medical professionals; 30% (206 sites) were related to patient information; 10% of the sites were not easily classifiable. Forty-one percent (169 sites) of the websites were commercially oriented homepages that included advertisements.

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