Your diagnosis is a minor mechanical disorder of the knee.

Injury or Condition

Mechanical disorders may include a band of inflamed joint lining called a plica. It may also include a free floating cartilage pieces called loose bodies. Because joints like smooth, unobstructed motion, both can cause irritation to your knee.


These disorders are commonly caused by previous injury, often unrecognized, or from overuse. Because the knee is loaded one to four million times per year in active people, spontaneous recovery may not always occur.


Typical symptoms are recurring low grade pain and tenderness in the affected area of the knee. Sometimes abnormal popping or catching is present.


Standard treatment includes:

  1. Modification of activities, like substituting biking for jogging.
  2. Observation for 6-12 months may permit a slow natural recovery.
  3. Anti-inflammatory medication (Diclofenac/Voltaren or Ibuprofen/Motrin) for 1-2 months.
  4. If you can identify a tender area, try application of ice after exercise or sports.
  5. If swelling, catching and pain persist, arthroscopic surgery to remove the abnormal tissue or loose body may be necessary.


Important precautions:

  1. Be patient; surgery is usually unnecessary.
  2. Daily workouts may not permit natural improvement. Try cross-training every other day.
  3. If momentary, repetitive locking occurs, arthroscopic surgery should be considered.


Spontaneous recovery may slowly begin over 6-12 months. If arthroscopic surgery is required, recovery usually takes 1-2 months after surgical removal of the plica or loose body.

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