Brief Outline of Knee (Synovial) Plica Injury
The synovial plica is a thin fibrous membrane that is a remnant from the foetal knee development. The plica once divided the knee into three separate compartments during foetal development but then became a part of the knee structure as the compartments became one protective cavitiy. The plica may become inflamed due to friction or pinching between the patella and the femur. This is common when the knee is flexed and placed under a stress.
Anatomy and Physiology for Knee (Synovial) Plica
When a foetus is developing, the knee is divided into three compartments. As the foetus reached full development these three compartments become one large protective cavity, the synovial membrane. Most people have some remnant of these divisions, the plica, left over as thin membranes. They are usually located on the medial side of the knee, and extend from the suprapatellar fossa along the medial patellar border. These plica seldom cause problems by themselves. When friction or a pinching between the femur and patella occur, the synovial plica may become inflamed causing it to thicken, which in turn causes more friction creating a vicious cycle.
Cause of Knee (Synovial) Plica
Trauma to the flexed knee. Repetitive stress, especially with medial weight bearing, e.g. biking.
Signs and Symptoms of Knee (Synovial) Plica
Pain. Tenderness over the synovial plica.
Complication If Left Knee (Synovial) Plica Unattended
The synovial plica will continue to become inflamed and limit flexion activity in the knee if left unattended. The pain may also cause a change in gait or running form that could lead to other overuse injuries.
Immediate Treatment For Knee (Synovial) Plica Unattended
Reducing acitivy. R.I.C.E. Anti-inflammatory medication. Shockwave therapy. Anti-inflammatory injection.
Rehabilitation and Prevention For Knee (Synovial) Plica Unattended
Strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings will take pressure off the synovial plica. Increasing flexibility in these muscles will also relieve pressure that may be irritating the condition. Use of proper equipment, especially running shoes, can eliminate the irritation and force the knee back into proper alignment during activity.
Long-term Prognosis for Knee (Synovial) Plica Unattended
Once pain subsides, a return to normal activity can be expected. Very rarely is arthroscopic surgery required to remove the plica. No adverse effects have been found from the removal of the synovial plica and a complete return to activity can be expected.