Plica syndrome is focal knee pain and mechanical symptoms due to an irritated plica (fold of joint lining).

Different plicae can cause different symptoms - the common plica is located on the medial (inner) aspect of the knee and it can become traumatised between the bones.

medial plica being nipped between femur and patella thicked plica being nipped between femur and patella site of pain from a synovial plica on the medial side of the knee
This medial plica is being nipped between patella and femur during joint movement. Above the knee the suprapatellar plica may become nipped between the femur and the quadriceps tendon. Such trauma can cause the tissue fold to become inflamed and thickened, and then nippling (catching) can occur more often. Discomfort is typically felt on the inner aspect of the knee. A medial plica may be palpable as a tender cord-like structure on the lower inner quadrant of the knee.

Treatment of Plica syndrome

Treatment may includes anti-inflammatory medication, local steroid injection, physiotherapy to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings mucles and arthroscopic surgery to remove the structure entirely.

Synonyms: 
medial plica irritation
synovial plica syndrome
medial plica syndrome
lateral plica syndrome
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Link to an interesting discussion about plica surgery in the knee.

A list of references relating to the plica syndrome

What is the Plica Syndrome?

The plica syndrom is an often-missed cause of symptoms around the kneecap.

Plicae

Part 7 of a course on Diagnostic Arthroscopy by Dr (Mr) Angus Strover

Knee problems in the absence of injury

Conditions that might be the cause of problems in the knee when there has not been any injury.

Medial plica

Plicae are often neglected as a cause of knee pain.

A case presentation by Mr Angus Strover.

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CLINICAL PUBLICATIONS

Synovial Plica Syndrome of the Knee: A Commonly Overlooked Cause of Anterior Knee Pain. Lee PYF, Nixion A, Chandratreya A and Murray JM. Surg J (N Y). 2017 Jan; 3(1): e9–e16.

Medial plica irritation: diagnosis and treatment. Griffith CJ and LaPrade RF. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008 Mar; 1(1): 53–60.

Anatomy and MR Imaging Appearances of Synovial Plicae of the Knee. García-Valtuille R, Abascal F, Cerezal L, García-Valtuille A, Pereda T, Canga A, Cruz A. RadioGraphicsVol. 22, No. 4.


See also:


Common Knee Symptoms - ebook


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Webinar - An overview of plica problems in the knee.