With each step, forces equal to three to eight times your body weight travel between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) in your knee. These forces are dampened by a meniscus on the inner and outer portion of the knee, and the ends of the bones are protected by articular cartilage.
Patients with a condition known as osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, experience a successive wearing on the menisci and articular cartilage, which may develop tears. These degenerative processes limit the ability of the knee to glide smoothly and can result in popping, catching, locking, clicking and pain.
In a condition called malalignment, unbalanced forces cause excessive pressure on either in the inner (medial) or outer (lateral) portion of the knee. Degenerative arthritis and malalignment can cause the knee’s protective tissues to wear on one side more than the other in a repetitive cycle of damage. A partial or total knee replacement can correct this condition when joint damage is beyond repair.