DOI: 10.1097/jsm.0000000000001216 ISSN: 1050-642X

Acute Compartment Syndrome and Rhabdomyolysis Caused by a Single Electrical Muscle Stimulation in a 46-Year-Old Female Professional Athlete With Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Disorder: A Case Report

Karen M. von Deneen, Dereje Gobena Alemayehu, Ajit Khosla
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) training has been recognized as an effective modality for improving body composition, enhancing body strength, and facilitating injury recovery. However, individuals who are new to EMS training and those with certain chronic diseases should exercise caution due to the increased risk of rhabdomyolysis. This case report describes the occurrence of rhabdomyolysis and gluteal compartment syndrome following a single session of EMS training in a 46-year-old Caucasian female professional athlete. The patient was successfully managed with intensive intravenous fluid therapy and sodium bicarbonate supplementation, along with close monitoring of electrolytes and renal function. Electrical muscle stimulation training poses an increased risk of severe complications in individuals with chronic diseases and myopathy. Therefore, careful subject selection is required for EMS training in individuals with chronic diseases and myopathy to prevent common side effects. For individuals trying EMS training for the first time, it is recommended to avoid high-frequency EMS exercises.

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