Quality and Readability Analysis of Online Information on First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Fusion

Hamza M. Raja, Sterling J. DeShazo, Jeffrey T. Bowcutt, Jie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients frequently turn to the internet to learn about their orthopedic procedures. This study evaluates the readability and quality of first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint fusion information found online. We evaluated websites based on classification, search term, readability, HON code, DISCERN score, Journal of the American Medical Association benchmark criteria, and an author-created MTP fusion index (MFI). The average readability of websites was 8.48 ± 1.99, above the recommended sixth- or eighth-grade reading level. Almost half of all websites (48.98%) provided “poor” information. Keywords had no significant impact on the readability or quality of information. Academic/governmental websites had the highest quality of information, with the highest DISCERN and second highest MFI. Most websites (52.04%) were commercial and were the easiest to read, but had the second lowest DISCERN and MFI scores. Our results suggest that inappropriate information on the MTP joint fusion procedure is abundant online. Academic/governmental websites have the highest quality of information, but may be difficult for patients to comprehend. Many websites do have readable and relevant information. We recommend that physicians create a list of websites with accurate, relevant information for patients to circumvent the misinformation they may find while navigating and reading online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-261
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024


  • 5
  • Internet
  • joint fusion
  • metatarsophalangeal joint
  • online information
  • patient education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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