Okay, think of a podiatrist: does a white-haired man who tells you to wear orthopedic shoes come to mind? We thought the same thing, until we were introduced to Dr. Emily Splichal, a.k.a Dr. Legs. Dr. Legs is not only a young and fabulous podiatrist, but she also totally endorses (drumroll, please…) wearing high-heels! See more on this amazing woman below!
Dr. Emily Splichal a.k.a. Dr. Legs
DVDs: Catwalk Confidence/Stiletto Recovery/Vcore
Book: Everyday Is Your Runway
New York City, NY
What motivated you to do podiatric medicine?
I was always fascinated with the human body. As a competitive gymnast, I saw the body as a machine which, if trained properly, could achieve fascinating speed, power and grace. After undergraduate school, I became involved in fitness and experienced the satisfaction of positively impacting someone’s life. Wanting to take my fitness career to the next level, I decided to pursue podiatry as it would enable me to combine my passions for human movement, fitness and sports medicine.
A lot of doctors urge women not to wear high-heels for “health” reasons. With your Catwalk workout and recovery method, is it really safe and healthy for women to live in their heels?
My take on the whole “women and high-heels” issue is that we, women, know that high-heels are bad for our feet, knees and lower back. We all experience the pains associated with prolonged high-heel wear. But this is not enough to stop us from sliding them on the next time we have a dinner date or drinks with the girls.
Women are tired of doctors telling them that high-heels are bad for them. Understanding how much women love high-heels, and having a penchant for high-heels myself, I wanted to provide women with the knowledge and techniques needed to safely wear them.
I know it sounds crazy, but high-heels are a skill. Just like an ice skater trains to perform on the ice, or a gymnast trains to perform on the balance beam, a woman must train her body to walk and stand in high-heels. There are specific things women should be doing before, during and especially after wearing them.
If women follow the tips and tricks found in my book, Everyday Is Your Runway: A Shoe Lover’s Guide to Healthy Feet & Legs, or my Catwalk Confidence & Stiletto Recovery DVDs, this will greatly be minimizing the negative impact high-heels have on their feet and body.
When did you first realize there was a need and market for high-heel physical therapy?
I created the concept during my last year of Podiatry School. The more I learned about foot biomechanics and how they relate to the rest of the body, the more I became aware of my own movement. I realized that every time I wore my high heels, my back and knees would kill me. Using my knowledge from fitness, I started doing stretches and massage techniques at the end of the day. I began to not only feel less pain, but I also felt stronger in my high-heels and noticed a difference in my posture.
I became fascinated with this correlation between high-heels and body biomechanics, so I decided to get a Master’s in Human Movement…and the rest is history! With the publication of my book, it is my goal to bring the idea and the importance of stiletto foot health to the forefront of women’s daily beauty regimens.
I always tell women, just like you brush your teeth every day, you need to recover your feet daily. We take over 5,000 steps a day, don’t wait until your feet have a break down!
Do you think there is a growing trend or market geared toward women in the medical field? Are we gaining more notice and respect?
Absolutely! In my class it was almost a 50/50 split between men and women. Medicine is a wonderful career for women, whether they want to be career-oriented or still have a family. Many specialities in medicine enable you to work part-time or control your own schedule.
There are many patients who prefer to see a woman physician, since they generally have a more compassionate approach and may provide a gentler touch. As the years progress, you will begin seeing female chief of staffs and presidents of medical organizations.
When did your love affair with shoes start? Do you have a favorite pair?
My love affair with heels began when I first came to NYC 12 years ago. My older sister was in fashion at the time, and she introduced me to the world of stilettos. At that time, I don’t think she realized the obsession she unleashed in me!
I get very obsessive about shoes and will wear them into the ground. This month my favorite pair is a nude-colored heel with a jeweled bow on the front. I feel like a Barbie doll in them!
GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of Dr. Legs’ job? What job would you like to see here next?