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Plica syndrome (also commonly referred to as synovial plica syndrome) is a condition which occurs when the tissue of the inner lining of the knee joint becomes irritated. Synovial is a type of tissue surrounding a joint and is a normal structure found in many knees. However, the synovial plica are more prominent in some people depending on how much they shrunk during fetal development. For some, larger plica syndrome can be more prone to irritation, usually due to repetitive friction. The more irritated the knee gets, the larger the plica tissue grows, resulting in pain.
The effects of plica syndrome cause tenderness and pain in the front of the knee and on the side of the knee cap. There is a “catching” or “snapping” sensation that is associated with the diagnosis of plica syndrome when bending the knee. The synovial tissue is there to help make the normal fluid that lubricates the joint. The normal movement of the knee becomes affected when the tissue becomes irritated. After this point, the more the knee is used for activities, the thicker the tissue grows and the more pain that is experienced.
Luckily, plica syndrome is not usually a serious condition. The recommended treatment for the plica is simply rest. Staying off the knee and not participating in any serious physical activity allows the inflammation to subside. On top of rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications are usually helpful in aiding a speedy recovery. In serious cases, injection of cortisone or even surgery might be required.
If plica syndrome becomes a reoccurring problem, physical therapy should be considered before surgery. Physical therapy can be utilized to stretch and strengthen muscles and soft tissues around the knee. Programs are usually initiated that include timed ice application, iontophoresis, and ultrasound and controlled exercises are a great way to learn safe ways to move your body in order to keep your knees healthy. Your physical therapist will also develop an individualized routine with you to improve muscular strength and reduce irritation.
We feel like we have the best physical therapists around. Did you know you don’t need a referral to get help from a Physical Therapist? Direct access is available for you, please call us and set up an evaluation so we can help get you back on your feet. In Orange County we offer Physical Therapy in Chester, Goshen, Monroe, Port Jervis, and Montgomery. Westchester County has Physical Therapy in Armonk, Bedford, and Hawthorne. In Ulster County we offer Physical Therapy in Wallkill, while in Sullivan County you can get Physical Therapy in Liberty. To round out our 12 locations in New York, those living in Rockland County can go to Physical Therapy in New City as well as Pomona. If you happen to live in PA, we also have Physical Therapy in Milford and Dingmans Ferry of Pike County. Give us a call today!