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)

site of pain from a synovial plica on the medial side of the knee
The person may experience discomfort in a particular quadrant of the front of the knee - with dull pain, occasional sharp catching pain and a thickened tender area in that same distribution.


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.


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.

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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.

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Forum discussions

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Peer-reviewed papers

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medial plica irritation
synovial plica syndrome
medial plica syndrome
lateral plica syndrome

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...

Relevant material -


eBook about plica problems in the knee

eBook - An overview of plica problems in the knee

by - Dr Lars Blønd

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

by Dr Sheila Strover

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