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.

site of pain from a synovial plica on the medial side of the knee

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.


medial plica catching in joint - plica syndrome

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.

plica catching between bones - plica syndrome

Such trauma can cause the tissue fold to become inflamed and thickened, and then nippling (catching) can occur more often.


Treatment 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.

medial plica irritation
synovial plica syndrome
medial plica syndrome
lateral plica syndrome
An article about plica surgery in the knee based upon a forum discussion.

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.


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.





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:


eBook about plica problems in the knee

eBook - An overview of plica problems in the knee

An expert look at the various plical folds of the knee and the problems that can be caused by a troublesome plica.

eBook about common knee symptoms

eBook - Common Knee Symptoms - ebook

An easy-to-follow discussion of the more common symptoms experienced in the knee.