Rheumatology International

, Volume 38, Issue 11, pp 2133–2136 | Cite as

Using Google Trends to assess global public interest in osteoarthritis

  • Samuel S. JellisonEmail author
  • Michael Bibens
  • Jake Checketts
  • Matt Vassar
Public Health


To evaluate global public interest in osteoarthritis by assessing changes in Internet search popularity of the disease over a 10-year period. Google Trends was used to obtain search popularity scores for the word “osteoarthritis” (OA) between January 2004 and June 2018. We also analyzed changes in search volume relative to changes in search patterns for all health topics. Search interest in OA was high relative to all other health searches over the given timeframe. Overall, searches for OA steadily decreased between May 2004 and December 2012 and then steadily rose from January 2013 to April 2018. We also found consistent annual fluctuations over the pre-specified time range, with biannual peaks typically correlating with national and global awareness days. Biannual dips occurred with changes in seasonal patterns. Google searches for OA have steadily increased in recent years. Awareness initiatives, like World Arthritis Day, may be a reason for the public to search for information on OA. It may be helpful for physicians to search the Internet themselves for websites that provide accurate and high-quality information to recommend to their patients.


Public health Osteoarthritis Arthritis 


Author contributions

Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work—SJ, MB, JC, and MV. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content—SJ, MB, JC, and MV. Final approval of the version to be published—SJ, MB, JC, and MV. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved—SJ, MB, JC, and MV.


This investigation was not funded.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Institutional ResearchOklahoma State University Center for Health SciencesTulsaUSA

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