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MedlinePlus – Bones, Joints and Muscles

MedlinePlus's list of bone, joint, and muscle information is a good starting place to find reliable health information on these body systems. This subsection includes a robust medical encyclopedia as well as links to a wide variety of external resources detailing symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of orthopaedic, rheumatological, and neuromuscular conditions.

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Review Date: 11/9/2018

Scoring

Ease of Use

This MedlinePlus subsection is a simple alphabetical list organized by topic. Browsing each one leads to more detailed information specific to that topic, including a brief summary as well as numerous links to additional information. With its many links to outside resources, users will have to jump back and forth from this website to others. But aside from that issue, MedlinePlus is very easy to use and browse.

Visual Design

The landing page is very plain, having only a list of topics accompanied by a simple illustration of the musculoskeletal system.

Quality

Users will find an array of topics that provide a basic understanding of many individual arthritis types, bone diseases, and neuromuscular conditions. Inconsistent referencing make the reliability of each MedlinePlus page for a disease or condition variable. Topics found in the medical encyclopedia are well referenced, while this is inconsistent for disease summaries and information from linked sites. However, most links go to respected federal or speciality organization sites.

Credibility

MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for the content, which include the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, American College of Rheumatology, American Academy of Neurology, and more. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability by listing reviewers and date of last review. The currency of linked sites varies, and individual authors/editors of each topic page are not identified.

Pros

  1. Extensive medical encyclopedia with information related to bones, muscles, and joints
  2. Detailed subsections on "Arthritis," "Muscle Disorders," and "Connective Tissue Disorders"
  3. Multiple links to reliable, up-to-date, and adequately referenced information about many orthopaedic, rheumatological, and neuromuscular diseases

Cons

  1. Combining bone, joint, muscle, and neurological disease may be confusing since there are such diverse systems
  2. User-friendliness of materials varies depending on the linked website
  3. Users will have to spend significant time navigating and reading in order to get helpful information

Profile

Sponsors / Affiliations: The U.S. National Library of Medicine

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, images, journal articles, specialist finder, research, health-check tools, clinical trials

Languages: English, Spanish

Contact: custserv@nlm.nih.gov

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