“Unfortunately, it’s a rather common condition,” Dr. Albright said. “I will probably see a couple of cases a year, especially from football players who are doing two-a-days, when they are doing a lot of strenuous and repetitive activities. The muscles just continuously break down until they swell. In some cases, that swelling can lead to compartment syndrome, where the muscles swell so much that there is no place for them to go.”
Rhabdomyolysis often requires hospitalization, and compartment syndrome may require surgery to help relieve the pressure caused by the swollen muscle. In very serious cases, a person may experience kidney failure.
“These situations can happen at any age, but we most often see it in teenagers who don’t want to let their coaches down,” he said. “It is usually at the beginning of a sport season during conditioning time, and they push themselves past the point that their bodies can handle.”
Dr. Albright recommends that a person keep the following in mind when evaluating their muscle soreness:
Listen to your body: The pressure can come from all different places. Perhaps you're excited to stick to a personal workout routine or may not want to let down your teammates. Regardless, what matters most is what your body is telling you through pain.
Look for the signs: There are classic signs your body exhibits to tell you something's wrong. Look for muscle swelling that is disproportionate, urine that turns normal yellow to dark brown, and pain that isn't relieved through the use of anti-inflammatories. Seek professional help right away if you see any of these symptoms.
Don't hide information: Don't keep symptoms to yourself. Parents should check in with their teenagers during strenuous sports training sessions. Tell your health care providers or athletic trainers about symptoms earlier rather than later.
For more information on delayed onset muscle soreness or to find a Premier Physician Network physician near you, visit www.PremierPhysicianNet.com.