A woman has issued a stark warning after nearly losing her leg when she mistook "muscle gain" from her spin class for something far more serious.
Kaelyn Franco, 23, from Massachusetts, US, thought she had gained muscle in the thigh area when she had actually developed a dangerous condition known as rhabdomyolysis.
She posted a video on TikTok showing a selfie she took right after the session, saying: "Not me thinking I gained muscle doing a spin class."
She then put up another picture, in which she lies on a hospital bed with tubes sticking out of her leg.
"Not me losing my leg and life the next day," she added.
Kaelyn told NBC Today that she joined her cousin for a 45-minute workout on September 15.
Recalling the workout session, she said: "I was definitely pushing myself for sure, but I don’t think I was overworking myself to the point where I was like, 'OK I really overdid it'.
"(But) as soon as I stepped off the bike, my knees just gave out and I pretty much fell.
"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."
Overnight, Kaelyn started to feel pain and swelling in her leg but she thought it was a sign of "developing muscles".
But it turned worse and she started to find herself struggling to bend her legs and noticed her urine was turning a dark brown colour.
The young woman showed up at a hospital where the doctors told her she has developed rhabdomyolysis – a potentially life-threatening syndrome that happens when damaged muscle starts to dissolve, releasing muscle fibre contents into the blood, which can cause kidney damage.
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"It really did turn my world upside down," Kaelyn said. "The doctor said 'you could have lost your leg… you could have also lost your life'.
"It was just super traumatic and stressful."
Doctors had to operate an emergency surgery to cut open the skin and the membrane that keeps tissue in place to relieve the pressure in the affected area.
Nearly two months later, Kaelyn still can’t walk without crutches and can’t lift or put pressure on her right leg.
"I don't think sometimes we pay attention to our bodies, and I'm definitely guilty of it," she said. "I definitely I want to be kinder to my body."
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