Getting Foot Health Information Online

Google search medical degree

The internet has become a double edged sword, in that it not only makes much more information available to us all, it also makes more false and fake information available. For health related issues this can have consequences. As this availability of information increases, so does the need for critical thinking skills and the ability to discern good sources of information from bad sources. Too often you see people head down the rabbit hole of misinformation. Getting people out of that rabbit hole can be challenging.

Most health professionals are well aware that people will Google their symptoms, Google the advice given by the health professional, and make plans based on the outcome of those searches. People will also seek advice online from others who have the same symptoms or problems. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but can come with a multitude of issues and problems.

When it comes to foot problems, there is plenty of research evidence (like there is for so many other parts of the body) about the general poor quality of advice that can be found online. This has to be considered when you are reading or seeking advice online.

There has been much commentary on who should be legally responsible for bad advice if given online, especially by someone who has not examined a patient or got a full history or if the person given the advice has no medical or health training. Should the person given the advice be held legally and ethically responsible? Should the person taking the advice be responsible for it? It often comes down to if the person giving the advice has a duty of care towards the person taking the advice. We will leave that one to the lawyers to sort out.

When it comes the foot health advice, there are multiple sources of advice, like the Foot Health Forum and Podiatry Experts for advice on foot problems. Podiatrists and other health professionals have sites such as Podiatry Arena (this is not for people with foot problems).

In Australia, health professionals are regulated by the Australian Health Professionals Regulatory Authority and as part of that all professions regulated by them have requirements on them about what they can and can not do and say online. It must be evidence based. This gives the consumer some protection from bad advice.

Seeing a properly qualified health professional who is familiar with your history and can do a full examination and elicit all the relevant data will never be superseded by limited information that can be obtained online. There is nothing wrong with getting your foot health information online, as long as you are aware of its shortcomings.

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