Woman Says She Almost Lost Her Leg After Spin Class in Video Viewed 3M Times

One TikToker's harrowing experience following a spin class has left viewers stunned.

According to @kofranco_, known on the app as Kaelyn, the exercise almost left her without a leg, thanks to a rare-but-serious condition associated with strenuous exercise. The story has gone viral, with the TikToker's first video on the subject racking up 3.2 million views and nearly 90,000 likes since it was posted late last month.

Specifically, the TikToker developed a case of rhabdomyolysis, also known as "rhabdo." Though rare, rhabdomyolysis has gained increased awareness over the past several years, tracking with the monumental rise of spinning—a style of high-intensity exercise that employs a stationary bike along with oftentimes loud music and dim lighting.

A 2016 study published in The American Journal of Medicine reported on three "unusual cases of exertional rhabdomyolysis, each occurring after a first spin class." Based on their analysis of the case studies, researchers concluded that "the high-intensity exercise associated with 'spin class' comes with significant risks to newcomers."

Rhabdomyolysis develops as a result of severe muscle damage—which is why those who engage in intensive, strenuous exercise are at an increased risk. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "as muscle cells disintegrate, they release a protein called myoglobin into the blood. The kidneys are responsible for removing this myoglobin from the blood so urine can flush it out of the body."

However, if there is too much myoglobin in the blood at a given time, it can overload the kidneys, resulting in kidney failure and even death.

Approximately 26,000 people per year develop rhabdomyolysis. Its key symptoms include extreme muscle soreness and/or weakness, muscle swelling, and dark, brown or tea-colored urine.

TikToker Kaelyn's first video—the one that went massively viral—only provided a vague outline of the terrifying experience: she notes that she "almost [lost her] leg and life" the day after a spin class.

Several follow-up videos, however, provided viewers with additional details.

According to Kaelyn, it was her first time ever taking a spin class—however, she noted that she is very active. "I love biking, I love working out, I love being active, so I thought, 'Why not give it a go?'"

"After the class had finished, I stepped off the bike, and my legs and my knees immediately buckled under me, and they could not support my weight," said the TikToker. "Fast-forward to the next day, I was hobbling around ... I was thinking it was just soreness."

She explains that the pain only got more severe as the hours went on, prompting her to eventually seek medical attention. At the hospital, she was quickly diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis and given IV fluids.

The levels of dangerous proteins in Kaelyn's blood continued to rise, as did the swelling of her legs, ultimately requiring emergency surgery. After a week, the TikToker was able to finally return home—but that didn't mean things were back to normal. "I'm not able to walk, I'm not able to do anything by myself," said Kaelyn. "I'm in pain every single day ... Even walking for two minutes causes me a great deal of pain."

"I'm not here to prevent people from working out or to sway people away from spin classes and exercise .... More so, I want to shed light [on] a topic that's not really known about," she added. "It's important to be cautious of these things."

The TikTok community was quick to offer their support to Kaelyn, and many even shared similar experiences of their own. "I had this happen two years ago," wrote @jrmusso82. "Still haven't fully returned."

"I had rhabdo too after spin," echoed @kellymurphy331. "[Six] days in the hospital, [three] years later I'm still struggling with my quads."

For other viewers, it was their first time hearing about the scary condition. "New fear unlocked," commented @alitapcap on one of Kaelyn's explanation videos.

Newsweek has reached out to Kaelyn for additional information but did not hear back in time for publication.

Stationary Bikes
A row of stationary bikes at a spin event in New York City, 2017. One TikToker's harrowing experience after a spin class left her with a rare disease that has hindered her quality of life. Noam Galai/Getty Images