Woman nearly died after spin class left her with a life-threatening condition 5 months ago

Woman nearly died after spin class left her with a life-threatening condition

Franco was told that if doctors hadn't acted when they did she may have lost her leg or her life

A woman nearly died after a spin class she was trying for the very first time left her with a life-threatening condition.


Kaelyn Franco, who used to be really active, collapsed when she got off the bike but didn't initially think much of the "achy pain" initially.

"My legs just went out from under me," she said.

"I was very achy too, but I didn't think it was odd as it had been a hard class and I'd really gone for it."


But when the pain continued over the day - leaving her in tears and struggling to walk - the 24-year-old knew she needed to get help.

"It got so bad I would just cry through the night," Franco said.

"It was agony. I knew I needed to see the doctor after my urine turned brown."

Doctors later told her she had rhabdomyolysis - a condition caused by muscle breakdown and muscle death - likely suffered during the spin class.


Franco's blood levels were skyrocketing and after they didn't decrease, she was rushed for a two-hour surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Massachusetts, to relieve the pressure from her right leg.

If doctors hadn't acted when they did, Franco was told she may have lost her leg - or worse, her life. Franco is now in recovery and uses crutches to help her walk. She is scared to ever go back to the gym.

The support analyst, from Marlborough, Massachusetts, said she used to be really active and go mountain biking, and had "no idea" a spin class could lead to such a serious condition.

"At first, I just thought the pain was aches and that I'd just over-done it in the spin class and used muscles I hadn't used in a while, but it turned out to be life-threatening," Franco explained.


"It's safe to say I won't be doing a spin class ever again."

Franco said it will take her at least a year to "get back to normal and my leg will never be the same again".

Doctors immediately thought she had rhabdomyolysis, but Franco thought it would just take a couple of days to get back to normal.

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"They suddenly came and told me that I needed to have surgery," Franco recalled.

"And 30 minutes later I was being wheeled to theatre."

Franco had to have a fasciotomy on her right leg - a surgery to relive swelling and pressure.

Afterward,  she was told that if they had not done the surgery then they would have had have amputated her leg or worse as her muscles died, she could have lost her life.

"It was terrifying," Franco said.

"I hadn't even heard of this and now I am scared of exercising."

Doctors had removed some dying muscles from her right leg during the operation.

Franco was told that she had developed the condition due to the intense workout which specifically targeted her quads. "It's not like I hadn't done intense exercise that before," Franco said. "That's why it is so scary."

After a week in Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Massachusetts, Franco returned home to recover.

Now she is undergoing physical therapy to build her strength back up in her legs but is still in a lot of pain daily. Franco will make a full recovery, but it will take a year before she is back to normal.

"My right leg will never be as strong again, but I will get there," she said. "It's really frustrating but I'm determined to get back to good health."

Franco is currently raising money to help with her recovery. Donations can be made here