April 13, 2021

Meet Kayla Daniel, MD

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Orthopedics

Dr. Daniel specializes in nonoperative care of sports-related bone and muscle injuries in pediatric and adolescent patients, including sports-related concussions.

Her research interests include the female athlete triad, relative energy deficiency in sports, menstrual dysfunction in female athletes, and ultrasound use in pediatric sports medicine.

Where are you from?

I’m from St. Louis and grew up in the Olivette area. We just moved back to St. Louis in the summer of 2020 and live about 5 minutes from where I grew up. It is so great being back home and living in my old neighborhood— I missed toasted ravioli and Imo’s pizza.

What made you choose orthopedics as a specialty?

I was an athlete back in the day and have attempted to be a weekend warrior more recently. I learned and benefited so much from sports/activity with respect to both physical and mental health. I sustained some injuries as a young athlete and can personally relate to my patients, which I think it very important in establishing the doctor-patient relationship. I love that I can combine my passions for sports and medicine and ultimately help kids get back to doing what they love.

What sports did you play growing up?

I played all different sports when I was really young. I actually played on a boy’s baseball team because I didn’t want to play softball! As I got older, I played mostly soccer through high school and early on in college. Now, I enjoy tennis and running.

What brought you to Washington University Orthopedics?

I grew up in St. Louis, so it was always a long-term goal of mine to return home and live/work in the community I grew up in. WashU Orthopedics is nationally known and recognized for excellence in research and patient care, and I was fortunate to be connected to Mark Halstead, MD, through a mentor of mine during my fellowship. Dr. Halstead is a well-known leader in the pediatric sports medicine community, as are many other physicians within the department. I knew WashU would be a great place to build my practice and continue to learn/grow as a young attending physician.

What aspect of your practice do you find most interesting or rewarding?

The most rewarding part of my practice is discharging, or clearing, a patient to return to their normal activities. I have received a couple pictures of patients holding medals or just playing their sport once they are healed and it truly makes my day!

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

My favorite thing to do outside of work is be with my family, my husband Kevin, 9-month-old son Grant, and our 3-year-old puppy Jack Daniel. We love taking walks and exploring all of the parks and trails in and around St. Louis. Pre-pandemic and pre-baby, we did a lot of traveling which we hope to do as a family in the future. I would love to take a family trip to Kiawah Island and Charleston in South Carolina. We had our “baby-moon” scheduled there last spring but cancelled due to COVID. It would be fun to take Grant to the beach, and we love the food/activities/culture in Charleston.

If you weren’t a doctor, what would you like to be doing?

If I didn’t go to medical school, I think I would go to culinary school and open up a restaurant – a neighborhood spot with local coffee and bakery items in the morning and local beers/food in the evening. My husband and I love to cook all different types of food. I haven’t yet thought of a good name for this hypothetical restaurant, but when I do I’ll let you know.


For more on Dr. Daniel, check out her welcome video and physician bio page

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