The untold truth of the Toe Bro

Step right up, step right up! Time to get acquainted with the unearthly pleasures of The Toe Bro, otherwise known as chiropodist Jonathan Tomines. (According to the Collins English Dictionary, "a chiropodist is a person whose job is to treat and care for people's feet.") Described by The New York Times as a man "who can handle the most unpleasant of foot problems," Tomines lives in an underworld of oozing toenails and foot calluses gone wild. Thanks to his YouTube channel and squirm-inducing reality show on A&E, the world has been granted a window into The Toe Bro's exclusive world: Expect plantar warts aplenty and ganglion cysts galore, often served up in streaming rivulets of pus. No, these sights aren't for the faint of heart. They're probably not even for the strong-stomached.

What makes Tomines think anyone would want to watch this parade of misshapen feet? In an interview with A&E, he says "feet are sacred" and claims that watching these procedures is a form of "therapy." According to A&E, the Toronto-based foot specialist — who became a full-time chiropodist in 2012 — has reportedly "helped over 5,000 foot patients." He's clearly a man who loves his work: "Being a foot specialist is not only my profession but my passion!" he says.

What makes him tick? How did the profession find him? Why is he doing this to us? Grab your scalpel and pull up your surgical mask: We're gonna poke into every callus and corn to tweeze out the untold truth of The Toe Bro.

His YouTube channel is ... an experience

Toes riddled with gangrene. "Ram's horn toes," with toenails being shorn off in real-time. Let it suffice to say, "The Toe Bro" YouTube channel is a singular experience, best experienced with your back turned to the computer (though you'll still hear all that scraping). Among the channel's most popular offerings, you'll find a video tauntingly titled "EXTREME PAINFUL INGROWN TOENAIL REMOVAL-DID IT HURT TO REMOVE IT?" As of this writing, that clip has been viewed well over 11 million times. Go ahead and call it "IckBait," if you will.

If you liked that one, be sure to check out "TOENAIL CUTTING OF A LONG NAIL – 2 YEARS WITHOUT CUTTING HIS TOENAILS!!!" As of March 2019, that video has been viewed by 7.8 million presumably traumatized internet dwellers. Finally, as something of a palette cleanser, we recommend taking a good long stare at "REMOVING EXTREMELY HARD FOOT CALLUS." You won't be alone (although you may feel alone): More than 2.4 million viewers have endured that video to date.

Once you've finished your homework, perhaps you'll be in the mood for a game? A YouTuber named Casanova cordially invites you to participate in the "Try Not To Say EW Challenge," which itself involves watching the "Halloween Toe Bro Challenge," a montage of Jonathan Tomines' most gruesome procedures to date. We've viewed the video in question and strongly suggest you do not, unless staring at bloody, distended toenails is your idea of fun.

​How critics reacted to The Toe Bro

Join his club? When Jonathan Tomines addresses his YouTube subscribers, he refers to them as his "toes," as in: "What's up, my toes?" (Why not "little piggies?") In January 2019, he had "some exciting news" to share with his toes: "I'm just so happy about all the awareness that we've curated," he beamed. "Everyone's looking at their feet, everyone's cutting their nails right, and we're saving the world one step at a time." Then he dropped a bombshell: The very first season of The Toe Bro reality TV show would premiere on A&E in March 2019! He promised his subscribers — his toes, rather  they were "going to be up right next to the toe in the middle of the procedure. It's unbelievable to see the quality, the definition…" Picture it: All the gout, "toenail fungus," and "cracked heels" in glorious HD, as nature intended.

A&E execs evidently expected Tomines' "oddly satisfying and cringe-worthy procedures" and friendly "bedside manner" to be irresistible to audiences, although initial reviews were decidedly mixed. Decider called the series "extremely compelling," despite the reviewer watching much of the program "through [her] fingers." Hidden Remote claimed The Toe Bro "is the guilty pleasure you need in your life," while Metro found one segment — revolving around a patient's "claw-like" pincer nails — to be "toe-curling. We can't deal." 

Meanwhile, people certainly took interest in the "sneak peek" on YouTube, with one commenter noting: "These fetishes be evolving, man."

​He swears he doesn't have a foot fetish

As we mentioned earlier, Jonathan Tomines claims that "being a foot specialist" is his "passion," but just how passionate is he? As you watch in helpless horror as he goes about his business — contentedly prying toenails off of toes, squeezing diabetic blisters, and patiently paring calluses — you might begin to wonder: Does The Toe Bro have a "thing" for footsies? Could the face of a bonafide foot fetishist be lurking beneath that powder-blue surgical mask? In a sprawling interview with A&E, Tomines was asked if he felt "a level of personal satisfaction" when he plucked out "an ingrown toenail."

Tomines may have suspected the interviewer was using the term "personal satisfaction" as a euphemism for something far more squalid because he promptly set the record straight with the speed of a scalpel plunging into a toe blister. "I don't get pleasure out of it," he said. "I'm sure it's going to come up, but I do not have a foot fetish." He claims people ask if there's anything kinky in his particular brand of foot fanaticism "all the time," but he swears on a stack of bunions that everything is strictly above board. "People with a foot fetish like a certain type of feet," he told A&E. "The feet I see are not [in the best condition]."

That… that is a very good point.

He was inspired by Dr. Pimple Popper

Are you familiar with the work of dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee? According to her official website, she "aims to give people a better understanding of how to take care of their skin," but judging by her official YouTube channel and TLC reality show Dr. Pimple Popper, she also wants to rack up eyeballs with nauseating footage: pilar cysts prodded, whiteheads extracted, and something she upsettingly calls "gnocchi in the arm." In the category of more horrors from The Land of Nope: To honor St. Patrick's Day, Dr. Lee posted an Instagram video featuring "a seriously gross cyst filled with green goo," according to Women's Health. There's a huge audience for this kind of thing. As of this writing, she has more than 5 million YouTube subscribers.

In an interview with Hollywood Soapbox, Jonathan Tomines cited Dr. Lee as a huge influence on The Toe Bro brand: "I, of course, am a Dr. Pimple Popper fan," he admitted. While watching the show one day, he reportedly thought to himself: "You know what, I do some pretty gross stuff, too." On a whim, he decided to "film some of the procedures" and post the videos to YouTube. He's clearly delighted that people took an interest in his fancy footwork. In a January 2018 YouTube vlog, he claims he "would spend hours all night watching the craziest stuff" while at university and "always dreamed of having a YouTube channel." 

​His father got him into the business

A keen interest in feet, toes, heels, and soles evidently runs in the family. As Hollywood Soapbox reports, Jonathan Tomines' father practiced chiropody for three decades. In fact, his dad — who Tomines claims was "born and raised in the Philippines" — evidently worked "in the same office [Tomines is] now practicing in," according to The Toe Bro Facebook page. In fact, his father's chair is still situated in "the back room." (Tomines says the chair is about "forty years old" and was the "first and only chair [his dad] ever used.")

Tomines started assisting his father in his duties from a young age — experiences that proved formative. He would diligently help his dad's patients by personally removing their shoes and their socks, probably a rather agonizing prospect for some of these poor folks, depending on what was going on with their toes. "I absolutely hated it," Tomines told Hollywood Soapbox. "It was so gross just to take other people's shoes and socks off being a little kid." But his early exposure to all of these tormented toes proved essential to Tomines finding his own footpath in life: "My father literally paved the way for me," he says, "so all I had to do was follow in his footsteps."

C'mon, you know you want to hear about one of his 'craziest cases'

Judging solely by snippets on his YouTube page, a day in the life of Jonathan Tomines involves a steady procession of potential skin horns, monstrous toe warts, and insanely ingrown toenails. With that said, what constitutes one of his "craziest cases" ever?

In an interview with A&E, Tomines shared one particularly unpleasant anecdote: One patient was reportedly "a barber" who "stepped on a piece of glass" but couldn't locate the shard in his foot. "He went to the hospital, got an X-ray, and they found it," Tomines said, matter-of-factly. The patient was evidently told the piece of glass "would come out on its own," but that didn't happen and the wound "healed over."  That meant the barber was quite literally "stepping on this piece of glass every day," Tomines told A&E. Though the barber was reportedly referred to "six different orthopedic surgeons," Tomines claims "no one really wanted to deal with it." He eventually wound up in Tomines' office. "I saw the X-ray, numbed his toe, and pulled the piece out," he said. 

We're sure it was a soul-bending sight to see, but we're not convinced this story is sufficiently disturbing on paper, so here's a link to some footage of Tomines tweezing at a plantar wart.

How often does he get grossed out?

Jonathan Tomines wasn't always the Zen-like patron saint of foot foibles. At the start of his career, he'd privately recoil at many of the sights he'd see while on the job. In an A&E interview, he recalled how jarring it was to view an infected ingrown toenail for the first time. "[It was] just overwhelming," he said. "The moment someone takes off their sock, or shoe, you can already smell the pus." (Actually, "You can already smell the pus" would be the perfect teaser tagline for an upcoming season of The Toe Bro.)

Although instances are rare, a few cases can still succeed in getting under Tomines' skin, although he claims he can "put on a good poker face" and would "never" tell a patient when their affliction "smells really bad." But yes, the work occasionally gets to him: "Sometimes a toe becomes so swollen … or the toe is just deformed," he says. "And you're just like, 'What the heck am I going to do?' But, you learn to stay calm and get through it." Tomines isn't one to back down. "I was basically born for this," he boasts in The Toe Bro sneak peek. In fact, A&E promoted that sneak peak on YouTube by assuring rapt viewers that "there is nothing he won't clip, slice, or scoop until suffering is a thing of the past."

His Instagram page is personable and terrifying

Should you muster up the courage to sneak a peek at Jonathan Tomines' Instagram page, strap yourself in and brace for an emotional rollercoaster. You'll find a moody black and white shot of Tomines, complete with the obligatory inspirational quote (e.g., "Explore life out of your comfort zone.") A few snaps even feature his significant other. While we don't know too much about her, we've recently discovered that Tomines openly refers to her as "Mrs. Toe." 

Alas, most of the imagery on display is akin to the content on his YouTube channel: Deeply unsettling videos of Tomines going about his workday and occasionally jabbing a sharp surgical tool into someone's toenail. ("The aftermath of removing fleshy skin can be scary," he muses in one particular caption, right after morbidly invoking "REDRUM" from The Shining.)

The tonal whiplash can be rather destabilizing. One minute, Tomines is revving up his followers to live their best possible lives (e.g. "It's Monday. Get up and create something amazing this week.") The next, he's subjecting everyone to footage of a plantar wart being meticulously scraped away. ("I am now applying electricity and acid [Phenol] to destroy any warty tissue that may have been left behind.") That particular video earned some rapturous praise in the comments, with one follower writing: "The best of the best!" 

You may be inclined to disagree.

Don't forget to stock up on Toe Bro merch

Huge fan of The Toe Bro? it's probably difficult to spot like-minded aficionados in a crowd, but a great way to trumpet your fandom is by swaddling yourself in "The Toe Bro" merchandise, available right now on the official website.

First up: a kicky pair of "The Toe Bro Official Socks," a wardrobe staple that pays homage to everyone's favorite chiropodist. More perplexingly, you can purchase a "sturdy and warm sweatshirt" crafted out of "air-jet spun yarn," which is lovingly emblazoned with the words: "Anti Foot Fetish Foot Fetish Club." Here's a taste of the product copy: "Don't know what to say to your friends and family about your secret Toe Bro addiction?! Just wear this sweater and let it speak for itself." There's no denying the sweater is a conversation-starter — even if it's a conversation that nobody wants to have.

While you're here, why not pick up your very own "Deluxe Professional Foot Care Kit?" It evidently "gives you the tools needed to keep your nails and hard skin in check!" In case the mere mention of "hard skin" doesn't send you scavenging for your credit card, we'll mention that "all materials are made from surgical grade stainless steel." It's an essential kit for anyone who wants to take foot health into their own hands. Heck, why not approach strangers on the street and ask if you can fix their feet, too? Just don't forget to wear that sweater.