About Us

Our Mission is Our Purpose

Our Friendly Staff is here to help you!

Purpose is why we do what we do and it drives us forward toward a common goal...

Next Step Rehabilitation’s goal is to provide superior care and outstanding outpatient physical therapy that will:

  • maximize a person’s rehabilitative potential and physical outcomes in order to restore function and improve quality of life.
  • deliver comprehensive hands-on manual therapy, exercise, education and emotional support to promote restoring health and fitness both to the individual and the community.
  • achieve these goals in a cost-effective, professional, courteous and empathetic environment that encompasses striving towards mutual goals and patient participation.

Next Step Rehabilitation is a 100% privately owned outpatient physical therapy practice of dedicated, experienced physical therapists, who believe in working with all of our patients to maintain, improve and enhance their health and function.  We also believe in educating our patients as we work with you to achieve the best possible outcomes and maximize your improvements with daily and recreational activities.  Next Step was started in 2002 and over the years has expanded to three separate locations to provide our rehabilitative services to the people in Pinellas County.

Each therapist is certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy and has many years of combined outpatient experience.  In addition, we have a Certified Hand Therapist on staff, who is knowledgeable and competent to treat both minor and complicated hand conditions.  At no time during your care with us, will we utilize technicians or non-certified, unlicensed staff, as we strongly believe in providing ongoing professional care throughout your entire rehabilitation.

Wayne Whittle, PT, COMT | Owner

Wayne Whittle Physical Therapist St Petersburg

Wayne is a true Florida native, born in St. Petersburg and raised in Seminole.  Following high school he studied business at the University of Florida before deciding to move into healthcare.  He graduated Florida International University as a Physical Therapist and returned home to practice. 

Wayne has been providing therapy services in St. Petersburg ever since 1994.  He started Next Step Rehabilitation in 2002 with the goal of sharing his passion to help people with their recovery and rehabilitation.  In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife of 23 years and 2 young adult children, boating, fishing, cooking and eating (yes he is a foodie).

Steve Kiag, PT | Owner

Steve Kiag, PT Physical Therapist

Steve Kiag grew up and spent an active childhood participating in a multitude of sports and enjoying the surf in Melbourne, Australia.  He graduated in 1990 from Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences, Latrobe University, Melbourne with a B. App. Sc. In Physiotherapy (the dark ages pre Masters/Doctorate), before travelling and finally landing in sunny Florida, where he pursued a career specializing in manual therapy and orthopedics, with particular interest in sports-related injuries, postoperative rehab, and neck and spinal conditions.

Steve has been a member of the APTA since 1992, including chapter member of the Orthopedic, and National/Florida Private Practice groups.

What motivates Steve more than anything is making an immediate difference and impact on someone’s life and wellness.  A person’s injury or problem and their path to recovery can be tough, sometimes one of the more difficult experiences they will have, but Steve is intensely focused in assisting you return to your normal function.  He strongly believes it’s that satisfaction that drives him to care.

In addition to work, Steve is fortunate to be able to spend time working and living with his wife Debbie, recently college-graduated son, Jacob, and 2 dogs Reggie and Cooper.  Steve’s love of sports, the outdoors and travelling abroad has not changed since he left Australia, but with maturity he has expanded his passion and enjoyment to cooking, gardening and even occasionally sitting and relaxing to watch his beloved Tampa Bay Lightning and Bucs!

Debbie Kiag, MPT, CHT

Debbie is originally from southwest Missouri and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1995. In 1999, she earned a Masters of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Saint Augustine. She became a Certified Hand Therapist in 2005 and has continued to work with a variety of physical therapy patients of all ages in outpatient settings, including patients with complex hand conditions. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, golfing and spending time with her family, two dogs and friends.

Yoko Ray, DPT, MTC, CMP

Yoko Ray, DPT, MTC, CMP

Yoko Ray has been a licensed physical therapist since she graduated from University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in 2002 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Her treatment focus has been in orthopedic and sports medicine. Yoko’s expertise in manual therapy and movement analysis is invaluable to our practice. She holds certifications in Stanley Paris and Brian Mulligan manual therapy techniques and is a certified STOTT Pilates instructor. She has practiced in California, Virginia, Hawaii and Tokyo other than in Florida.

Lara Hooley, PTA

Lara is originally from south central Pennsylvania where she received her Bachelor of Science degree before deciding to begin a career in physical therapy. She returned to school and achieved her specialized degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant in 1998. Lara has been practicing in outpatient orthopedics for 19 years, 10 years of which have been here in St. Petersburg. She has been a member of the American Physical Therapy Association since 1998 and holds a certification in Therapeutic horseback Riding as well. Outside of work Lara enjoys spending time outdoors, watching sports and movies, and spending time with her family, friends and her dog Aura.

Steve Tomkins,


Steve Tompkins is originally from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. He attended East Carolina University receiving his Degree in Physical Therapy from there in 1990. Steve moved to St Petersburg after graduation and has worked and lived in the area since then. He has worked as an outpatient therapist for over 25 years with a focused interest on orthopedic patients. Steve has played sports all his life adding to his interest and insight into physical therapy. He has played recreational softball since moving to St Pete. Besides being fun this has added to his interest into the shoulder and throwing mechanics. Steve’ s additional pursuits are live music, weight lifting, hiking, traveling and being outdoors. He is a Graston certified therapist since 2014. Graston Technique® (GT) is a unique, evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively and efficiently address soft tissue lesions and fascia restrictions resulting in improved patient outcomes. The use of GT instruments, when combined with appropriate therapeutic exercise, leads to the restoration of pain-free movement and function.

Megan O’Brien, Front Office Specialist

Another St. Pete native, Megan will probably be the first voice you hear when you call the 66th street location. Since 2013, she has been the front desk receptionist and handles all of the patient scheduling as well as verifying your insurance benefits. She is also in contact with your doctor’s referral coordinator for those patient that need pre-authorization. She enjoys baking, spoiling her son with trips to Disney World, and escaping on weekend road trips.

Debbie Crane, Front Office Specialist

A native of NC that since 2000 has enjoyed living in Largo. Debbie would most likely be the first voice you hear when you call the Largo office. Since 2006 she has been the front office receptionist and handles all of the patient scheduling as well as verifying your insurance benefits. She is also in contact with your doctors's referral coordinator for those patients needing pre-authorization. She enjoys spending time with family and traveling back to NC as much as possible to spend time with her family there, especially her two young grandchildren.

Samantha Hill, Front Office Specialist

“Sam’ has worked at the Park Street location since 2014. She also is a Floridian and loved everything about this state. She has two amazing children any they enjoy spending time at the beach any chance they get. Her family is everything to her, including her two pets, Sugarfoot and Lilybug. If she is not at the beach, she is cheering on the Florida gators with her family.

The Next Step Rehab Difference

More Convenience for You

We are in network and take most insurance plans.  Our staff will be in contact with your individual insurance provider and clarify your benefits for you before you show up for your initial visit.  If you do not have medical insurance, or do not wish to use your particular plan, we offer payment solutions to help you get the treatment you need.

You Will be Treated by the Same Therapist Throughout Your Rehabilitation

We find this is the best way to focus on you, your goals, your progress and your success to get back to work, play, and life.

We Have a Flexible Schedule to Work Around What You Need

We value your time and responsibilities, and can work with you scheduling what is convenient for you.

We Stay in Contact and Update Your Progress with Your Physician

Your physician trusts in us with your care, and we will keep them informed of your progress and any additional needs might they arise.

Next Step Rehabilitation succeeds when you succeed.  We are here for you, to assist you with overcoming pain and physical limitations so you can get back to doing what YOU want to do.  We will do our best to answer all of your questions and provide information and education about your condition, as we feel when you understand the causes of your symptoms, we can work together to find a resolution and prevent them from returning in the future.

Contact Us For More Information

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