Grenada-born, Trinidad-raised Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted in Michael Jackson's death, was recently taken to hospital for treatment of what his lawyer described as "marked venous stasis of his lower extremities" and "right shoulder pain and severe loss of motion."
Murray's lawyers blamed the cramped conditions of the six-foot five-inch tall cardiologist's jail cell for his illness.
The cell was so small that Murray had "no opportunity for physical movement throughout the day," his lawyers said. "The only actual exercise that Dr Murray received occurs on most Monday evenings when he is transferred in chains to an 8-by-8 cage on the roof of the facility."
Murray, in a phone call to a friend that was later published by the website TMZ, complained that he feared his illness would be permanent. "I may never be able to wear a boot again," he said.
"The venous stasis gives rise to a high risk for deep vein thrombosis and/or migrating pulmonary embolism," his lawyer said. "This condition may have developed to a chronic state which has become permanent and uncorrectable necessitating a lifetime of medication and treatment."
The cardiologist's lawyers have since persuaded the Los Angeles County sheriff that Murray was suffering possibly life-threatening and permanent injuries from almost a year in a five-foot-by-seven-foot cell.
Authorities subsequently transferred Murray to an eight-foot-by-10-foot cell of the Los Angeles County jail, "but it's not a good thing," his lawyer Valerie Wass said.
The new cell has a solid door with only a small window, unlike the old cell that was open with bars that Murray could prop his long legs on when he stretched, Wass said.
"It's like being stuck in a closet and he's freaking out," she said. "He is feeling really isolated."
Wass, who is leading Murray's appeal of his involuntary manslaughter conviction, and Michael Flanagan, one of his trial attorneys, planned to meet with jail officials to discuss Murray's health problems.
The best solution, Wass said, would be for the sheriff to release Murray on monitored home confinement for the final year of his sentence.
Murray was sentenced to the maximum of four years in prison for causing Jackson's death, but California law requires him to serve just half of that behind bars.
Another law intended to relieve overcrowding in state prisons has Murray serving his time in the county jail, which Wass said was never designed for long-term confinement.
Murray is held in a high-security section of the jail and isolated from the general prisoner population for his own protection.