Because the network that brought us Dr. Pimple Popper just gives and gives, TLC has a brand new health show that follows Schaeffer and Dr. Ebonie Vincentboth foot and ankle surgeonsas they help patients whose feet, sometimes literally, are killing them. The show is shocking (and probably not for the weak of stomach), but also surprisingly heartfelt, as people finally get help for the conditions that have been holding them back.
Men's Health talked to Schaeffera former contestant on The Titan Games, FYI!about what it's like to film My Feet Are Killing Me. And keep scrolling for exclusive clips from this week's new episode.
There's pivotal moment in every episode when you roll down the patient's sock and we see their foot for the first time. It's a real moment of tension. How do you feel when you're doing it?
It's funny. When we were going through the whole filming process ... the producer was like, 'This is the reveal. It's gonna be nice and slow and building the drama.' Anyway, we were told to do [the sock reveal] immediately, from the jump. It's working, because even when I'm sitting at home, I'm like, 'Oooooh!'
Is that really the first time you're seeing the person's foot?
I would like to say that I haven't seen it, but they have to pitch the patient to me first to make sure I can treat them ... but I never have seen it in person.
Even if you've seen photos, it's gotta be a whole different experience to see those feet in person.
Not to sound gross or anything, but the smell, the way things flake offeverything tangible that's related to an exam really brings everything full circle.
What's the worst thing you've ever smelled in your career?
An infected wound. Those are just a nightmare ... If I could think of a good analogy, it really smells like death. That is what it is: The foot is dying ... It's the smell of decaying flesh. It's awful.
In the first episode of My Feet Are Killing Me, Davida patient with foot fungussays he hopes you have a strong stomach, and you tell him it takes a lot for you to throw up. What would actually get you to that point?
Maybe I have a strong stomach, but there's really nothing that I've seen so far that has made me sick. Ive seen everything up to this point: bones out of people's legs; decaying flesh; the smellssometimes you can put stuff up your nose to block the smell a little bit.
Speaking of David...that foot fungus.
I don't know if I've ever revealed a sock like that, that had all of those flakes. Most of the time, when people come in, they'll do a little TLC to their feet, like you do when you go to the dentistyou brush your teeth first. David was just YOLO.
The people cast on My Feet Are Killing Mehow do they compare to the patients who normally come through your office? Are you always dealing with such dramatic cases?
I probably found a handful [of people who appeared on the show] ... David just came into my office two weeks before we were starting to film episode one.
... From the casting that the production company did, there were a lot of things that I personally haven't seen in my private practice because, you know, these things are like textbook stuff that you read about in school, and youre educated on it, but theyre so rare. They don't walk through your door. A man with Proteus syndrome, one of the rarest conditions in the world, just doesn't walk through your door.
Here's Dr. Brad meeting a patient with Proteus syndrome:
So, this show gets surprisingly deep. David neglected his feet because he was dealing with the grief of losing his mom. Does that happen a lot?
That is probably the main thing that I like to hammer home to the audience and people that ask me questions. Because someone like David, that has neglected his feet for yearsthere's a reason for that. In David's case, it was truly just because of the death of his mother. He was helping care for her.
On the show, you help a woman named Morgan by removing the extra toe on each of her feet. What's it like to cut through bone?
I grew up very blue collar, so I did a lot of carpentry with my dad around the house ... To be honest, it's not that different from cutting through wood. It's very similar. Now, youre cutting through bone in somebodys bodyso that's a lot different. But if you stay focused [and think], 'Here's your line. This is your shape. Make it perfect,' that's exactly what you do in carpentry.
In this exclusive clip from episode three, we see you start a patient's surgery by popping off a piece of her big toe: