Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Woman develops rare condition, almost loses leg after spin class

Story at a glance

  • Kaelyn Franco, 23, was hospitalized with a rare condition called rhabdomyolysis the day after going to a spin class.
  • Rhabdomyolysis “occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases proteins and electrolytes into the blood. These substances can damage the heart and kidneys and cause permanent disability or even death,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Franco had to undergo emergency surgery to have the muscles that were breaking down into her bloodstream removed to save her leg and her life.

A woman is warning people on social media after she developed a rare condition following a spin class that almost cost her her leg.

Kaelyn Franco, 23, explained on TikTok and Instagram that after taking a spin class Sept. 15, her legs immediately buckled and swelled, quickly followed by excruciating pain the next day.

Not me thinking I gained muscle doing a spin class,” Franco captioned a photo on TikTok of her after the class, followed by a second of her in the hospital the following day, reading, “Not me almost losing my leg and life the next day.” 


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Franco was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, also known as rhabdo. Rhabdomyolysis “occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases proteins and electrolytes into the blood. These substances can damage the heart and kidneys and cause permanent disability or even death,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of the condition include dark urine, severe muscle cramps, and feeling weak or tired — all symptoms Franco displayed.

Franco later developed acute compartment syndrome as well, and she underwent emergency surgery to have the muscles that were breaking down into her bloodstream removed. The surgery ultimately saved her leg and her life.

About 26,000 people develop rhabdomyolysis each year, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Seeing my loved ones cry when my surgeon said that this surgery had just saved my life was something I’ll never forget,” Franco wrote on Instagram. “Although my leg will never be the same and I’ll have lifelong complications from this, I am lucky and I am so grateful. I am alive and my leg was saved.”


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