Most of you who CrossFit have heard or know about the dreaded rhabdo, but this topic hits close to home because one of our TCF members Chris Langit is currently recovering in the hospital from it. Thankfully he is doing well and hopefully he will be released soon. Hopefully his account and this blog will prevent anyone else from getting it in the future. But first, a little background info..
What is Rhabdo?
Rhabdomyolysis is a serious medical condition in which the muscle tissue is injured and breaks down, resulting in the release of muscle cells to the blood stream. This gets dangerous because the molecule myoglobin is toxic to the kidneys. The kidneys cannot filter the increased amount of myoglobin and can lead to kidney failure. Another possible
What causes rhabdo?
A variety of things can cause it such as severe trauma, burns, heat stroke, viral infections, statins and amphetamines and INTENSE EXERTION. As Crossfitters, we’re most concerned with this and is called “exertional rhabdo”. Symptoms include severe muscle pain/soreness, nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramping and dark-red “Coca-Cola” urine.
Am I at risk?
While cases of rhabdo are generally low, it can happen to anyone. Most cases are seen from people who haven’t been active for a while and jump into an intense workout. As you all know, we have a new toy..the GHD machine..which is one of the main culprits that leads to rhabdo. Other movements coupled with high reps that are a main cause of rhabdo are pull-ups and push ups. An article from the CrossFit Journal states “Eccentric movements are particularly stressful for muscles because the muscle cells are lengthening while trying to contract. This “stretching” increases muscle tension and predisposes the muscle cell to injury”.
How to prevent it?
Train properly – If you haven’t worked out for a while or are new to CrossFit, don’t jump into a crazy workout, or if there’s a workout with a high amount of reps that you’re not used to, scale back…There’s no shame in scaling anything! Trust us when we make Fundamentals mandatory for all new to CrossFit. We need to gradually increase intensity and master the basics first.
Hydrate! – Drinking water after a workout will flush the myoglobin out of your kidneys. Eating after is a good idea too to replenish the sodium lost during a workout and will prevent hyponatremia.
In Chris Langits case, he is obviously in great shape and crossfits at least 5 times a week, that includes some gnarly Jamie workouts in there too. On Friday, we did Annie (50-40-30-21-10 Double unders and sit ups). Chris did Annie w/ GHD sit ups but took his time and didn’t do more than 2-3 reps at a time. He said he was sore the next couple days but nothing out of the ordinary since we’re all pretty used to feeling sore. He didn’t notice anything unusual until after the beach workout on Sunday when his urine was dark brown. He tried drinking a ton of water, but it wasn’t clearing up so he decided to go to the ER where they diagnosed him with rhabdo.
Workout of the Day: