athletes it is most commonly caused due to overexerting the muscles. Extreme muscle overuse
can damage the muscle tissue, breaking it down, which causes the release of a muscle protein
called myoglobin into the bloodstream. A big influx of myoglobin is toxic to the kidneys which
can block it’s filtration system leading to kidney complications. The severe muscle damage can
also cause an extremely high level of electrolytes to accumulate into the bloodstream which can
cause serious complications to vital organs including the heart.
● Trauma or crush injuries eg car accident
● Extreme muscle exertion
● Prolonged immobility
● Muscle hypoxia
● Genetic disorders
● Body-temperature changes
● Drug or alcohol abuse
● Metabolic and electrolyte disorders
● Muscle pain – the most common muscle groups affected are the calves and lower back
● Muscle weakness or stiffness
● Dark coloured urine due to excessive myoglobin levels
● Flu-like symptoms
● Elevated creatine-kinase level
● Urgent medical management is recommended initially which may include treatment to
manage electrolyte imbalances and intravenous fluids to help maintain urine production
and prevent organ damage.
● It is important to adequately hydrate, retain range of motion and avoid overexertion to
prevent creating more muscle breakdown.
● Physiotherapy management will often include rehabilitation to regain range of motion,
muscle strength, and full function to assist in progressing back to physical activity.