Dr. Kimberly Davis transferred to University of Western States from Portland State University, where she was in a pre-med emphasis program and finalized her bachelor’s degree in human biology while in the Doctor of Chiropractic program. Dr. Davis graduated Cum Laude from UWS in 2008. She is the founder and CEO of RunLab, a clinical gait lab and multidisciplinary sports medicine facility that takes a revolutionary approach to running-specific health care in Austin, Texas.
When you were still in school, how did you envision your practice?
This will sound crazy, but I had never been to a chiropractor when I started at UWS. My interest was in research and I was initially driven toward the field because of its need for more clinical researchers. I also liked the fact that the chiropractic education focuses on anatomy, biomechanics and the neuromusculoskeletal system, which is the stuff I love.
How did it turn out?
I spent some time working with the UWS research team following graduation and it was amazing. My time in the research department helped me realize that studying and assessing complex movement patterns and the way that rehab exercises can affect neuromuscular control is where my passion lies. It was an easy transition into applying these concepts to gait, because I am a runner and have always loved reading about and learning everything I can about human locomotion and biomechanics.
Why did you choose to work with athletes?
As an ultra-distance adventure racer and Ironman triathlete, I run a lot. I started running as an adult and struggled with running-related injuries early on. I knew my mechanics were at the heart of the issues, but had trouble finding someone to help me solve them. I saw a need in the medical field for a health care and training facility focused specifically on runners. I also love the complexity of gait and the mental gymnastics that are required to unravel layered compensation patterns. Every patient is a new challenge, no matter how simple the issue appears on the surface. I couldn’t ask for a better patient population.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I get stopped almost daily on local running trails by patients who want to thank my team for helping them run again. Part of what makes RunLab so successful is the fact that we understand not just the biomechanics, but also the minds of runners. Most runners are not trying to make the Olympic team. They just want to be able to get out their front door every day. Running and walking are the most basic activities of daily living imaginable and people should be able to do them without pain.
How do you stand out? / How do you make your niche in the field?
RunLab stands out because we do one thing and we do it very well. We understand clinical gait mechanics at a very high level and we never stop learning and innovating as a team. It was scary at the beginning to start a clinic doing something very unique and without a roadmap to follow, but if you have enough passion for something, it will succeed. The hours are long and it can be exhausting, but there is almost nothing better in the world than seeing something pay-off that was built from an idea sketched on a napkin.
What is your advice for current students who want to work with athletes?
There is a lot of competition out there for this patient demographic. Don’t just be good…be great. Don’t go too broad in your skillset, pick your niche and don’t ever stop reading and learning everything you can about it. Then, refer out the patients who aren’t the right fit for your practice. It’s tough, but it’s worth the effort. You will end up building a practice full of staff and patients that you enjoy being around every day. I have very few friends outside of work these days, because my staff and my patients ARE my friends. It’s a very fulfilling life to wake up on Monday morning and actually be excited about another 80-hour work-week. I love the quote, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Have questions, comments or are interested in learning more about what Dr. Davis does in her practice? Contact her at:
512-266-1000 ext 1