The Bespoken Word

Incase you were wondering about the ‘Plica’…….

Image taken from
Image taken from

What is a Plica?

A plica is a fold of synovial membrane most commonly in the anteromedial aspect of the knee. Plica are present in about 50% of the population and are thought to be the remnants of embryonic connective tissue that failed to fully resorb during your foetal development. Luckily, most plicae are asymptomatic.

While your knee potentially has four plica it is the medial plica that is most likely to be symptomatic (Dupont 1997). It runs parallel to your medial patella just below your medial retinaculum and inserts into your fat pad.


Why would you remove it?

Sometimes the plica can become inflamed and this is known as painful plica syndrome.

Plica syndrome is essentially an inflammed plica. Your plica can catch during:

  • repetitive knee straightening and bending,
  • blunt trauma or knee twisting,
  • fat pad irritation,
  • altered knee motion,
  • internal knee derangements eg meniscal tears. (Schindler 2004)

This is particularly the case if you have experienced persistent pain and weakness in the quadriceps muscles.


How is it removed?

This minimally invasive procedure is performed by your surgeon using a small incision and the insertion of a scope and a specialized surgical instrument to remove the damaged synovial tissue and plica.