Plica syndrome is a collection of symptoms commonly experienced together when a fold of joint lining called a plica is irritated, thickened and intermittently catches in the joint.
Page updated November 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)
Situation of discomfort in Plica Syndrome
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.
Such trauma can cause the tissue fold to become inflamed and thickened, and then nippling (catching) can occur more often.
Management of Plica Syndrome
Different plicae can cause different symptoms - the common problematic plica is located on the medial (inner) aspect of the knee and it can become traumatised between the bones.
Treatment may includes anti-inflammatory medication, local steroid injection, physiotherapy to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings muscles and arthroscopic surgery to remove the structure entirely.
- Hughstons Plica Test
A patient explains the Hughston plica test.
"A diagnosis of SPS [synovial plica syndrome] should be suspected in patients with intermittent pain, swelling, and snapping sensation affecting the knees, which is associated with activity that involves increased loading of the patellofemoral joint."
Citation: Lee PYF, Nixion A, Chandratreya A, Murray JM. Synovial Plica Syndrome of the Knee: A Commonly Overlooked Cause of Anterior Knee Pain. Surg J (N Y). 2017 Feb 15;3(1):e9-e16. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1598047. PMID: 28825013; PMCID: PMC5553487.
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