Plica syndrome, also known as medial plica syndrome, refers to a condition involving irritation and inflammation of the synovial plica—a fold in the synovial membrane of the knee joint. The synovial plica is a remnant of tissue from fetal development that usually diminishes as the knee matures. In some cases, the plica can become thickened, causing pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of plica syndrome may include:
- Knee Pain: Pain along the inner side (medial aspect) of the knee is a common symptom, especially during activities that involve bending or straightening the knee.
- Popping Sensation: Some individuals may experience a popping or snapping sensation in the knee when moving.
- Swelling: Swelling around the affected area of the knee may occur, contributing to stiffness.
- Catching or Locking: In some cases, the thickened plica may catch on other structures within the knee, causing a feeling of catching or locking during movement.
- Discomfort with Activity: Pain or discomfort may be exacerbated during activities that stress the knee joint, such as running, jumping, or prolonged periods of sitting.
Diagnosis of plica syndrome often involves a clinical examination by a healthcare professional and may be confirmed with imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Conservative treatment options include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve joint function. In cases where conservative measures are not effective, surgical intervention to remove the irritated plica may be considered. As with any medical condition, individuals experiencing symptoms suggestive of plica syndrome should seek evaluation and guidance from a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.