There are many possible causes of knee pain in people with active lifestyles. Most people assume the cause of their pain is a sprain, strain, or fracture. One condition they don’t consider is plica syndrome. The plica is fibrous tissue, specifically a fold, located in the lining of the knee joint that functions as an extension of the synovial membrane.
Due to many reasons, the plica can become inflamed, irritated, or enlarged. This is classified as an overuse injury called plica syndrome. This condition is caused by repetitive movements that irritate the tissue. Common symptoms are pain, hearing a popping sound, and experiencing a locking sensation in your knee every time you move it.
Did you suddenly up your ante in your workout or sport? Did you get a direct hit to your knee? Have you been spending excessively long periods of time on your knees? These are often the causes of plica syndrome. Young athletes are particularly prone to irritating their plica.
You may not be very familiar with it, but your plica allows for smooth movement of your knee joint. There are four synovial folds in your knee, but it is usually the medial plica that becomes irritated in most cases. The medial plica runs from the knee patellar to the thighbone.
Athletes and those who love to run, bike, or use the Stairmaster are at high risk of developing plica syndrome. Patients with structural abnormalities, such as knock knees, dysfunctional ankles, or weak hip abductors, are also prone to developing this condition. Due to its location, it is easily confused with other conditions, such as a patellar injury. Diagnosing plica syndrome is difficult and requires the use of imaging technology to confirm the thickening of the plica. This also rules out other possible causes of the symptoms.
To treat an inflamed plica, doctors focus on relieving inflammation through the use of ice, medication, immobilization, injections, and massage. Physical rehabilitation is also important in treating plica syndrome. The treatment plan will include behavioral modification, correcting poor biomechanics, and addressing structural abnormalities that may have caused the condition to develop.
All conservative methods are often recommended for patients with acute plica syndrome. If the condition becomes chronic, the plica could undergo changes that would render conservative treatments ineffective, in which case surgery is recommended to treat the condition.
Are Your Symptoms Due to Plica Syndrome?
If you suspect your knee pain may be caused by plica syndrome, see an orthopedic physician. It’s crucial that you get diagnosed for your condition, so it doesn’t worsen over time.
Plica Syndrome Diagnosis and Treatment in Little Rock, Arkansas
If your knee is giving you problems or keeping you from doing the activities you love, Dr. William Hefley can help diagnose and treat your condition. Dr. Hefley is a knee surgeon who is an expert in treating all types of knee conditions – many of which you’re probably not aware of, such as plica syndrome.
Schedule a consultation today by calling (800) 336-2412. You can also request an appointment now.