Woman Nearly Lost Her Leg After Intense Spin Class


  • After her first spin class, Kaelyn Franco’s legs became swollen and she could barely walk. 
  • She’d developed potentially deadly conditions and needed IVs and leg surgery to survive. 
  • Rhabdo may be on the rise in the pandemic with people jumping back into fitness too intensely. 

A 23-year-old woman nearly needed her leg amputated after she developed a life-threatening condition during a spin class.

Kaelyn Franco is a fitness buff. She played soccer and softball in high school and continued her love for sports in college. On September 15, she took her first spin class after a friend recommended it.

“I was definitely pushing myself for sure, but I don’t think I was overworking myself to the point where I was like, okay I really overdid it,” Franco told Today.com.

After the 45-minute workout, her knees just gave out, and fell on the floor.

“I thought that was strange at first, but then I was like maybe it’s just my muscles are tired, weak and just a little bit sore.”

Franco’s legs were swelling and sore the following day. She initially thought she was just gaining muscle from the intense workout. But when she started having trouble walking or bending her legs, she knew something was off. Her fear intensified when her urine turned dark brown.

Franco went to the hospital “crying in pain”, she wrote on Instagram. The amount of creatine kinase in her blood was shockingly high — 259,000. The normal range is around 33-211 units per liter. She’d developed severe rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition when muscle tissue breaks down rapidly and releases a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. When the kidneys can’t filter it fast enough, it turns a person’s urine Coke-colored and can lead to organ failure and death. 

“Doctors said they hadn’t seen such levels before,” she said. “I couldn’t walk or move and had to be put on a catheter.”

Doctors rushed to get her into surgery to save her from amputation. A doctor told Franco that without the surgery, “you could have lost your leg…you could have also lost your life,” she told Today.com.

Franco still cannot walk without crutches or drive a car, But is on her way to recovery, according to the GoFundMe campaign she launched for her medical bills.

“Although my leg will never be the same and I’ll have lifelong complications from this, I am lucky and I am so grateful,” she said. “I am alive and my leg was saved.”

Franco is warning others to be careful about how far they push themselves during workouts.

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