Rhabdomyolysis in Athletes



A new “hot topic” in the fitness world: Rhabdomyolysis. Acute Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (AER) is a syndrome in which muscle swelling results from a breakdown of muscle fibers where its cell contents get released into the bloodstream. This typically occurs from intense bouts of strenuous eccentric exercise (common cases have been reported in the military, CrossFit community, and long distance runners).

It is important to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of this potentially fatal syndrome.

Symptoms: significant muscle swelling, severe muscle soreness (bilateral), cola-colored urine. If you have these symptoms, be sure to get to an Emergency Room right away.

Prevention: If you are an untrained or deconditioned individual, be sure to progress your exercise! Increase intensity of your exercise at a pace that will allow muscle tissue to recover. Also, proper exercise technique is imperative! Be away of extreme heat/humid situations, and be sure to stay hydrated!


T. Brudvig & P. Fitzgerald. “Identification of Signs and Symptoms of Acute Exertional Rhabdomyolysis in Athletes: A Guide for the Practitioner.” Strength and Conditioning Journal: February 2007.

One response to this post.

  1. Thanks Abbey! I’ve heard of somene having this after Day1 with a bad trainer. Good reminder to take it slow. We can’t get fit in a day!


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