Regenerative Medicine: ‘Just What I Needed’

A nonsurgical solution for engineer’s long-running battle with ankle pain.

The first stop John McHugh made after he was released from the hospital following a two-week stay to correct a life-threatening heart problem was the nearest liquor store.

John McHugh's on a ladder

John McHugh

For years, John prioritized alcohol over everything else and nearly destroyed his life in doing so.

Then, one day, while homeless and sleeping near the Cliff House in San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, John decided to make a change.

Those changes are chronicled in the book, Memoirs of a Miracle, in which John tells of how, at age 46, he finally steered himself away from alcohol and onto a new path.

“I decided the only way I was going to stay sober was to find something else that would occupy most of my time,” John shares. “So, I decided to go back to school.

“I started out by spending a year or two in the community college system, and because I was sober, I was able to excel, even though I was still living in a homeless shelter.

“The grades I made in community college were good enough to get me into Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University), where I studied engineering.”

John completed his undergraduate work in 2011 at age 52. Two years later, while still at Cal Poly, he earned his master’s degree in civil engineering.

Since then, John has moved to Florida, where he works as a structural design engineer. He’s been sober for 17 years and counting, but for many of those years, he struggled with the effects of another ailment from his past.

“Somewhere around 2000 or 2001, while still in San Francisco, I fractured my left ankle,” John recalls. “Being homeless and broke at the time, I didn’t have many options medically, so I wound up at a free clinic, where they put a cast on it.

“I limped around with that cast for three or four weeks until the cast fell apart. I wound up cutting off what didn’t come off on its own, but my ankle never really got any better. In fact, it actually got worse.”

After sobering up in 2005, John went in search of medical care for his ankle again. Surgery was recommended, but after seven years of homelessness and unemployment, he could not afford that option and continued hobbling around the best he could.

“Then, while at Cal Poly, I started seeing some of the student physicians,” John shares. “They suggested placing inserts in my shoes and gave me cortisone shots and even tried some freezing techniques using liquid nitrogen. But none of them worked long term.

“That was tough, because the pain was excruciating. Sometimes it was so bad I couldn’t even stand on it. I had some good days, too, but by the end of those days I was in so much pain I had trouble walking from my truck into my house.”

Following his move to Florida, John received a few cortisone shots for the ankle, but again, those provided only temporary relief. Then, in 2021, John found out about a practice offering a more advanced option.

“The practice was QC Kinetix,” John recalls. “I had actually been reading about some of the nonsurgical things they do, so I gave them a call and made an appointment to see if they could do anything for me and my ankle.”

State-of-the-Art Treatment

A local practice with a national reputation, QC Kinetix offers drug-free regenerative medicine treatments for soft tissue pain, joint pain and musculoskeletal conditions.

As an alternative to medications and surgeries, QC Kinetix treatments trigger the body’s ability to repair itself using healing properties found in the blood.

That blood is gathered from the patient during a typical blood draw, then placed in a centrifuge, where the healing properties are separated and extracted. The healing properties are then used to treat the patient’s damaged tissue or joint.

The process sparks a tissue regeneration that allows the damaged area of the body to rebuild itself over a few weeks or months.

“Regenerative medicine is a great alternative for many people who thought surgery was their only option,” says Daniel Sucherman, MD, medical director of QC Kinetix Gulf Coast, which has locations in Fort Myers and Naples.

After years as a key member of an orthopedic surgical team, Dr. Sucherman recognized the need for a better way to help people in pain. A strong believer in regenerative medicine and the positive impact it can have, he chose to meet that need through QC Kinetix.

“I’m an anesthesiologist, primarily for orthopedic surgery, and I know that people who go to an orthopedic surgeon for pain are commonly told they need surgery,” Dr. Sucherman explains. “And believe me, surgery has its place. But it is very strenuous on the body. It involves a lot of cutting, drilling, sawing and hammering, and the recovery process is very arduous.

“In many cases, there is an alternative, and that’s why I became involved with QC Kinetix. I want to offer people an alternative to surgery, pain medications and steroids for their joint pain. That is exactly what QC Kinetix and its regenerative medicine treatments do.”

Though it is on the leading-edge of medical science, regenerative medicine is not a new concept. Its most basic principles have been practiced for years. At QC Kinetix, the process has been updated to provide better results.

For example, QC Kinetix uses state-of-the-art equipment that allows for the retrieval of the most beneficial healing factors from blood. It can also obtain components from young blood cells with extensive self-renewal properties.

QC Kinetix works with patients across multiple visits, providing drug-free treatments that are customized for each case. Symptom improvement is then monitored for several months while patients experience no downtime. Most patients complete their treatments within six months and experience ongoing benefits from them.

“Another feature that sets QC Kinetix apart is that we do all of this in-house,” Dr. Sucherman points out. “Your blood, your tissue never leave our office. And we do all this while you’re in the office. When we’re done, you simply go about your normal activities.”

Custom Care

John on roof squatting

“I could not be happier with the results of my QC Kinetix treatments.” – John

Regenerative medicine treatments can be used to treat arthritis pain and pain from muscle or tendon tears almost anywhere in the body, including the knees and shoulders, ankles and wrists, hips, low back and neck.

“Each patient’s treatment plan is based on his or her specific condition,” says Melissa Becker, PA-C, at QC Kinetix in Fort Myers. “From a single blood draw, we extract different components of the blood that are used to treat the area of concern.”

Each treatment acts as a building block for the next, according to Melissa, whose staff provided John with six treatments across a six-month period. John says he began to feel the positive effects of those treatments almost immediately.

“I noticed a difference within 24 hours of receiving the first treatment,” John confirms. “At first, I thought, This has to be a coincidence. Maybe I’m just having one of those good days. But at the end of that day, the pain was still minimal.

“Then, over the course of the next month, I had more of those good days. And pretty soon the pain was completely gone. I still had to be careful because my ankle muscles had atrophied a lot, but now I’m back working out at the gym and jogging, and I feel great.

“I’m pushing it, too. I’m not babying my ankle or anything, so the bottom line is, I could not be happier with the results of my QC Kinetix treatments. They were just what I needed, and the fact that this was a nonsurgical option was a big plus.

“I also want to point out that there was no downtime. None at all. And that’s important for someone who’s on his feet a lot, so I highly recommend
QC Kinetix. The people there are great, and the treatments have made my life better.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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    • QC Kinetix - Gulf Coast

      The alternative pain specialists at QC Kinetix clinic Gulf Coast, FL, treat numerous ailments with high-quality biologic therapies to minimize inflammation and pain. Their team of medical experts participates in ongoing research and training to... Read More

    • Melissa Becker, PA-C

      Melissa Becker, PA-C, is a physician assistant with more than 15 years of experience in orthopedics and hand surgery. She earned her bachelor’s degree while graduating cum laude and her master’s degree from Marywood University in Scranton, PA.... Read More

    • Daniel Sucherman, MD

      Daniel Sucherman, MD, completed his premedical, medical school and residency at the prestigious Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. After spending many years as a key part of an orthopedic surgical team, Dr. Sucherman ... Read More