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Take Control. Prevent Injuries. Eliminate Pain.

Meet our team.
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We firmly believe that the therapist and the patient should decide the plan of care – not the insurance company. You shouldn’t have to go back to your activities without feeling ready. Nor should you have to wait for pain in order to seek knowledge on how to prevent it. We give you back your control and provide you the care you deserve with treatment plans customized around YOU.

Denise Smith

Physical Therapist, Certified Manual Physical Therapist, 
Running Technique Specialist, Owner
Crystal Lake Clinic

Denise Smith graduated from Marquette University in 2002 with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy, is a consultant for the Russian Olympic/National Triathlon Team, and instructs courses in Kinesiology at McHenry County College. Denise also travels the country as part of the Pose Method education team with a lecture series on injury prevention and treatment along with the running technique certification course.

She is a recreational runner and triathlete who loves spending time with her two active children and husband. As a busy mom, Denise understands the importance of using your time wisely and opened Smith Physical Therapy + Running Academy to help her patients get better faster and to help athletes run smarter.

Denise has spent her years obtaining certifications that allow her to treat each patient as an individual with a focus on hands-on manual therapy techniques, functional movement patterns, return to sports testing, and advanced treatment of athletes of all levels. Read about Denise's reasons for starting Smith Physical Therapy + Running Academy in this article by The Northwest Hearald.

Denise's advanced training includes: Certified Manual Physical Therapist, Pose Certified Running Specialist, Pose Certified Sports Technique Specialist, Functional Movement Screen Specialist, Gary Gray 3DMAPS Specialist, Certified Graston Technique Specialist, Y-Balance Test Specialist, ACL Injury Prevention and Return to Sport Specialist.

Dana Tress

Physical Therapist, Certified Concussion Specialist, Ergonomic Specialist
Crystal Lake Clinic

Dana Tress graduated Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Bradley University in 1997 and joined Smith Physical Therapy in March of 2017. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings, but has spent most her career working in outpatient orthopedics and neurology.

While she enjoys working with all orthopedic conditions and injuries, Dana has focused more than half of her career on extensive continuing education and training on dizziness, vertigo and balance disorders, concussion management and treatment, return to play/work progression, as well as headache treatment and management.

Dana’s combination of manual skills, functional movement analysis, balance and vestibular techniques, and clinical instruction techniques allow her to personalize each treatment to every individual. Additionally, Dana is a Certified Concussion Specialist, Certified Clinical Instructor, Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist, Gary Gray 3DMAPS Specialist, and Graston Technique® provider.

Abby Schenk

Physical Therapist, Running Technique Specialist
St. Charles Clinic

Abby Schenk is proud to be a part of Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy. She was born and raised in Ohio and then studied Allied Health and Pre-med at Otterbein College. She was captain for the Cross Country, Indoor, and Outdoor track team during her undergraduate years. After graduation, Abby obtained her doctorate in physical therapy at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania in 2013. Initially she grew a passion in neuromuscular disorders when she covered clinicals at the Rehabilitation Institution of Ohio but soon felt pulled to work in orthopedics and sports medicine. 

Following graduation, Abby moved to Chicago with her husband where she began working for Advocate Medical Group, where she excelled working in the athletic and sport populations. She also enjoyed working registry at Marian Joy Rehabilitation and Delnor Hospital. Abby specializes in vestibular rehabilitation and sports-specific training for all athletic populations. Her specialties include utilization of Rock tape, Rock blades, ASTYM, myofascial release, and other manual techniques. In 2018, Abby became a Pose certified running technique specialist. 

During her personal time, Abby enjoys all physical activities including skiing, running, CrossFit, and Olympic lifting. Between 2015 and 2016 she completed the Cleveland, Boston marathon, and Fox Valley Marathon. Traveling the world with her husband and spending time with her Labrador retriever is Abby’s way to relax and enjoy life.

Ashley Dougvillo

Physical Therapist, Certified Manual Physical Therapist, 
Running Technique Specialist, Women's Health Specialist
Crystal Lake Clinic, Kenosha Clinic

Ashley Dougvillo joined Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy in 2019. She graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI in 2008, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Biomedical Sciences. She then went on to attend Northwestern University in Chicago, IL to complete her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2010. She is a Certified Manual Therapist and has additionally obtained specialty certifications in the Pose Method of running, kinesiotaping, FMS/SFMA, and ASTYM.

Ashley has a true passion for working with all age levels and abilities, but as both a runner and mother, she has a special interest in treating running-related injuries and women’s health. When she is away from the office, Ashley enjoys trail running, hiking, exploring history and spending time with her family.

Megan Long, PT, DPT

Physical Therapist, Performing Arts Specialist
St. Charles Clinic

Megan graduated with a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006. She has been working in outpatient orthopedic for the past 14 years treating athletes, performing artists and general orthopedic injuries. She is a Graston Technique trained clinician as well as specializes in kinesiology taping, and manual therapy techniques . Megan has a passion in treating patients in the performing arts community including traditional dance, competitive dance, gymnastics, ice skating and cheerleading. Personally, she has been a dance instructor since 1995 in areas including ballet, pointe and conditioning for dancers. Megan is excited to join Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy and bring performing arts therapy to the community.

Joe Estes

Physical Therapist, Certified Golf Fitness Instructor
Crystal Lake Clinic & St. Charles Clinic

Joe Estes graduated Cum Laude with his bachelors of science degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton in 2010, and then completed his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA in 2013. He worked for Athletico Physical Therapy for nearly 8 years, where he ran the company’s Golf Rehab/Performance program for 6 years in Oak Brook, IL. Joe joined Smith Physical Therapy in July of 2021. He has spent his career working with outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine, specializing in golf rehab and performance,.

While he enjoys working with all orthopedic conditions and injuries, Joe has focused most of his interest on extensive continuing education and training on golf rehab/performance, shoulder pain and post-operative rehab, soft tissue dysfunction, and low back pain. Joe is a TPI certified Golf Fitness Instructor and a certified manual trigger point therapist, which allows him to perform dry needling.

During his personal time, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 children, and Goldendoodle. He enjoys golfing, sports/activities with his family, trying new coffee shops, meeting up with friends, and attending church. If you are a golfer, Joe also hosts his own podcast called Golf Rx, which is all about golf injuries, golf rehab, and golf performance. Check him out wherever you listen to your podcasts, and follow him on Instagram @JoeEstesPT.

Lauren VanValkenburgh

Physical Therapist, Women's Health Specialist
Crystal Lake Clinic

Lauren graduated with a bachelor's degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. She went on to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in 2022. She has completed her Pelvic Health level 1 certification through the APTA and is currently finishing her Masters in Healthcare Administration at Rosalind Franklin. She looks forward to continuing to learn and expand her knowledge base!

With a particular interest in the intersection of pelvic health and wellness, Lauren firmly believes that everyone should be able to enjoy the activities they love without pain or fear. In her free time, she enjoys running and CrossFit style workouts and holds her OL1 certification as a CrossFit coach. She also finds joy spending time with her family, baking lots of treats and hanging out with other people's dogs.

John Novak

Physical Therapist, Aquatic Rehab Specialist
Crystal Lake Aquatic Clinic

John earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston in 2003. He spent the next 8 years working as a part of a multidisciplinary team in residential and in-patient psychiatric treatment settings. Seeking a career shift, John was determined to combine his interests, skills, and clinical experience in a field where he could continue helping others improve their quality of life. John earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northern Illinois University in 2016. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Illinois Physical Therapy Association, and the Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy.

John is passionate about utilizing water to help individuals of all ages return to function. In the water he specializes in treating a diverse population of patients. This includes but is not limited to those facing surgical and injury rehabilitation, chronic pain management, joint dysfunction, and neurological disorders. John also enjoys the challenge of helping individuals who have had difficulty tolerating or have had minimal success with traditional land based physical therapy.

In his free time John can be found working on cars, playing sand volleyball, swimming, hiking, fishing, golfing, bowling, and embracing his inner bird nerd. He also has an inability to ignore dogs and is compelled to say hello to every single one that crosses his path.

Tracy Kroening

Physical Therapist Assistant
Crystal Lake Clinic

Tracy has an Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapy, a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Studies and an Elementary School Teaching Certification.

She previously worked as an elementary school teacher and tutor, and embarked on a second career in physical therapy after being a stay-at-home mom for 13 years. Her passion for physical therapy came later in her adult life, when her father suffered a stroke, and she witnessed firsthand his progress with physical therapy. “I love seeing people benefit from therapy, decreasing their pain and improving the way they move and function in the world.”

After completing her Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapy in 2015, Tracy found herself specializing in spinal and back health. She loves a challenging case and has a drive to learn and grow with each new patient.

Outside of work, Tracy enjoys dancing, hiking and anything that gets her closer to the water, including traveling, boating, stand up paddle boarding, scuba diving and surfing.She was born and raised in Canada, but now calls Crystal Lake home along with her husband, Mike, two daughters and yellow lab, Timber.

Megan Sloan

Director of Special Programs, Running Technique Specialist

Megan was a patient at Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy (a few times!) before she joined the team in March of 2021. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 2010 with a degree in Communications. Since then, her experience in health & fitness, chiropractic offices, and education, have helped shape her into a very well-rounded professional. Megan is also an RRCA (Road Runner’s Club of America) certified running coach and has been coaching runners of all ages for the past 7 years. Having finished 14 marathons and 7 Ironman triathlons, she is no stranger to stepping outside of her comfort zone. She believes that hard work, discipline, and a positive and open mind can get you what you are striving for.

Megan has been a part of the McHenry County community since the ripe age of 10 years old and does not plan on leaving anytime soon. Her heart belongs in Crystal Lake with her husband Robert. Megan is an avid runner and triathlete with a passion for good food and competition.

Jill Ernst

Director of Marketing and Community Relations

Jill joined the Smith PT team in October 2020. She attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, obtaining a degree in public health in 2011. After college, Jill spent 9 years working in wellness, fitness, special events and community engagement. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and a Schwinn indoor cycle instructor and uses her knowledge from these certifications to help others stay active and fit. 

As a McHenry County native, growing up in Marengo, Jill believes in the power of community collaboration, servant leadership and volunteering; she is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Greater McHenry County. In her spare time, she enjoys running, biking, gardening and cooking. Between 2012 and 2015, Jill ran the Chicago Marathon twice and Boston Marathon once. She is always up for friendly competition – whether it be a running a race or a simple game of cards. Jill and her husband, Andrew, have three young children and a yellow lab that accompanies them most places they go.


Karie Stringer-Arand

Patient Experience Coordinator
Crystal Lake Clinic

Karie joined the Smith Physical Therapy & Running Academy in May of 2021 as the Patient Experience Coordinator. Karie comes to the Smith Team with years of experience as the manager of Dick Ponds Athletics from 2011 to 2020. She also has been certified by the Road Runners Clubs of America since 2005 and coaching runners ever since. At the same time in 2005, she added Race Directing to her resume and directed 4 different annual races for Lifetime Fitness in Algonquin from 2005 to 2017. Karie also coordinated the Run Club at Lifetime Fitness in Algonquin from 2003 to 2019 and she is currently the Cycle Club Coordinator since 2008.

Karie is a mom of 3 to Jordan (26), Madison (18), & Ethan (17) and new puppy Dakota. She has been racing in the endurance world since 2001 and enjoys traveling and racing with her husband Greg. With over 30 full marathons and 4 Ironman Triathlons under her belt, she doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon!

Kim Roseland

Patient Experience Coordinator
Crystal Lake Clinic

Kim joined Smith Physical Therapy + in June of 2022 as a Patient Experience
Coordinator. She’s been a Patient of Denise’s for the past 12 years and is super
excited to be part of the Smith family! Kim graduated from Valparaiso University in 1992 with a degree in Sociology. After spending many years being CEO of the
Roseland Household and earning her PhD as a Child Activity Coordinator and a
Masters in Patience Management, she decided to enter the world of Helping others’ outside her home. She’s worked for Weight Watchers, a naprapath and multiple chiropractors. Kim loves watching patients work towards being pain free.

Kim is a mom to Allison, Emily and Benjamin. In her free time, Kim loves spending time with her family and friends, crafting, traveling and working out (no running forher unless being chased by a bear)!

Rachel Mueller

Patient Experience Coordinator
St. Charles Clinic

Rachel joined the Smith Physical Therapy team in September of 2022 as a Patient Experience Coordinator. She is currently working towards her BA in Marketing with a Digital Marketing emphasis at University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. Prior to attending Whitewater, Rachel studied marketing at Judson University and also competed on Judson’s cross country and track teams. With a passion for running, health and wellness since she was a kid, Rachel knew Smith PT+ was the place for her!

Rachel grew up in Ottawa, IL near Starved Rock State Park where she found her love for the outdoors. Her favorite place to travel is Colorado where she has started hiking the Colorado 14ers with a goal to check all 58 off her list. In her spare time, Rachel loves visiting any of her six older siblings around the U.S., camping, and spending time with friends. Rachel is currently living in Elgin with her cat named Leche.

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