ZocdocAnswersHow can I recover from Plica syndrome?

Question

How can I recover from Plica syndrome?

I heard a pop in my knee and had a sports medicine doctor check it out. He said the MRI didn't show a tear but that I had Plica syndrome. How can this be cured and how can I recover from it? I'm supposed to start going to physical therapy but I'm worried that it won't work at all.

Answer

It sounds like you have taken all the right steps with regard to an injury associated with activity. A 'popping' sensation in the knee can be associated with many different injuries, and while a physical exam can often be very helpful in narrowing down the diagnosis, an MRI is the definitive evaluation for soft tissue and bony structures in the knee. Plica syndrome refers to a condition in which the protective synovial lining of the knee joint becomes irritated or inflamed, often from mechanical injury when folds of this connective tissue are pinched between the femur bone and kneecap. In general, the approach to treating plica syndrome involves anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. Your physician may have prescribed a mediation like ibuprofen to help with the inflammation. In addition, physical therapy exercises and other treatment modalities can also be very helpful in dealing with the inflammation. Techniques called iontophoresis and phonophoresis can be used by physical therapists to administer drugs through the skin to an affected area. This allows for the more precise delivery of anti-inflammatory medications (sometimes even steroids) directly to the inflamed area without the side effects of 'whole-body' administration. Once the inflammation is under control, strengthening exercises can help with the alignment in the knee to try and prevent this from recurring. At present, it sounds like you are doing all of the right things. Please continue to follow with your sports medicine physician to make sure that you are getting better and to monitor any new symptoms.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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