Employee Spotlight: Kaila Mikesch, PT, DPT, CMPT (Aug ’23)

Kaila Mikesch at Axes Physical Therapy in St. Louis, MO - serving the Festus, MO area

This August, we are thrilled to shine our employee spotlight on Kaila Mikesch, PT, DPT, CMPT, who has been an invaluable member of the Axes family for an impressive 5 years. Kaila’s journey at Axes has been nothing short of remarkable, culminating in her recent promotion to Clinic Director of our esteemed Axes location in Festus. Let’s dive into Kaila’s world as a Clinic Director and Physical Therapist, and discover the passion and dedication she brings to her multifaceted role. 

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in physical therapy, and how did you find your way to Axes Physical Therapy? 

A: Being an athlete throughout my life – spanning gymnastics, volleyball, and track and field, I was fortunate to earn a volleyball scholarship. When deciding on a school and major, I stumbled upon exercise science. It was a seamless fit, encapsulating all my interests. There’s a funny story here; I worked for Ernie Goddard, one of the founding partners of Axes, as a tech back in 2008. That’s when I realized physical therapy was what I wanted to do. After school, I worked at a Children’s hospital which I loved. But fate had a way of leading me back to Axes; when my husband needed hip surgery, he was successfully treated with care and kindness by Ernie. That reconnection eventually brought me to Axes. I grew up 10 minutes south of here and went to Festus High School. I always thought it would be great to treat patients in my hometown.  Kaila Mikesch at Axes Physical Therapy in St. Louis, MO - serving the Festus, MO area

Q: Congratulations on your recent promotion to Clinic Director at the Festus location! Could you share how you feel about taking on this new leadership role? 

A: Thank you so much! A significant factor in this new role is my amazing staff. I’m genuinely grateful and honored to be leading such a dedicated team. Their commitment makes my job rewarding, and I aim to make their work experience fun, simple, and efficient. I believe in leading by example, and this role has fostered immense personal and professional growth in me. 

Q: As a seasoned Physical Therapist, do you have any specializations or patient types you’re particularly passionate about treating?  

A: My background was primarily in pediatrics and orthopedics. After beginning at Axes, I found gaps in my knowledge when treating the adult population. I was drawn to spine and manual therapy as well as trigger point dry needling continuing education in my search to fill those gaps. I proudly earned my CMPT last May through Axes’ Continuing Education program, led by the brilliant Scott Gallant, PT, FAAOMPT, BDN. Lower extremity cases fascinate me due to their complexity. It’s always intriguing when a patient comes in with knee pain, and I discern that the root cause might be their back or hip. I’m especially connected with kids facing significant orthopedic injuries, sometimes sidelining them from their sports passion for up to a year. Though these patient types differ, the underlying similarity is the rewarding journey of supporting someone physically and mentally and witnessing their transformation. 

Q: As both a Clinic Director and Physical Therapist, how do you manage wearing multiple hats while overseeing staff and treating patients? 

A: Multitasking is inherent to being a PT, and it certainly comes with the territory. Staying ahead requires diligent planning. I start each day by prioritizing my patient schedule. I’ve always been a list person, ensuring I cover all tasks. The desire to run a clinic, especially in my hometown, felt natural, almost like I’ve been in training for it, having unofficially functioned as an assistant clinic director previously. 

Q: We understand you are a Certified Manual Physical Therapist (CMPT). Could you shed light on the importance of this certification in your practice? 

A: When you start as a PT, you’re somewhat of a generalist. Earning a CMPT offers a refined approach. This certification not only helps in accurate diagnosis by evaluating surrounding parts but also facilitates communicating the entire process to patients, ensuring they’re actively participating in their care journey, both inside and outside the clinic. 

Q: How does your advanced training in manual therapy benefit the patients you treat? 

A: Many of my patients had previously failed to find relief elsewhere. My CMPT training equips me with additional techniques, allowing me to approach cases with a fresh perspective. The results speak for themselves – sometimes just a few sessions can bring about significant improvement. Witnessing a patient’s mental upliftment as they regain faith in the healing process is truly rewarding. We prioritize continuing education, and I always encourage my team to explore and pursue their professional passions. 

Q: In your opinion, what sets Axes Physical Therapy apart from other therapy providers? 

A: It boils down to the people. At Axes, the focus is the patients, not merely the bottom line. Moreover, we treat the WHOLE patient, not just the body part. Our commitment to patient experience is unwavering, paralleled only by our dedication to ensuring an enriching employee experience. Here, we treat everyone with respect – our colleagues, our patients, and our clients. 

Q: As a physical therapist, you must have a keen interest in health and fitness. How do you incorporate this into your own life? 

A: Exercise is my sanctuary; without it, I’m not at my best! I know how beneficial it is mentally and physically for myself and I cherish the opportunity to instill a healthy lifestyle in both my patients and my children. It’s heartwarming that my children recognize this passion – my son told me a few months ago his favorite activity with me is being outdoors and working out.  

Q: Outside of your professional life, what are some of your passions and hobbies? 

A: I am blessed with two wonderful little boys, Kyler and Kaden, aged 5 and 3. My husband, Adam, and I recently purchased property. We’re thrilled to relocate our two horses there, improve the habitat for wildlife for hunting, and build a house one day. As a family, we love to immerse ourselves in nature. 

Q: Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring physical therapists considering joining the Axes team? 

A: Dive right in. If physical therapy is truly your passion, it’s an incredibly fulfilling path. And if it’s with Axes, the decision is a no-brainer. Unlike places where you might feel like just another number, at Axes, there’s a genuine sense of family. Our patients’ stories of recovery make every moment worthwhile.

We are incredibly grateful for Kaila Mikesch’s dedication and expertise, not only as a Physical Therapist but also as a Clinic Director, driving the success of Axes Physical Therapy. Her passion for patient care and leadership is truly inspiring, and we are honored to have her as an essential part of the Axes family. Join us in celebrating Kaila’s outstanding contributions to our community and her commitment to promoting health and wellness through exceptional care at Axes Physical Therapy’s Festus location. 

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