The long-term clinical outcome of surgical interventions at the knee is dependent upon the quality of the restoration of normal function, together with moderate musculoskeletal loading conditions. In order to achieve this, it is essential to consider biomechanical knowledge during the planning and execution of the procedures. Until now, such knowledge has only been available in books and journal manuscripts and is merely considered during preoperative planning. Its transfer into the specific intraoperative situation is, however, primarily dependent upon the surgeon's skills and understanding. Mathematical models hold the potential to provide the surgeon with detailed, patient-specific information on the in vivo forces, as well as their spatial and temporal distribution. Their application in clinical routine, however, requires a comprehensive validation. Based on a model validated against patient data, it has been shown that - mainly as a result of the action of the muscles - both the tibiofemoral as well as the patellofemoral joints experience substantial mechanical loads even during normal activities of daily living. The calculations further indicate that malalignment at the knee in the frontal plane of more than approximately 4 degrees results in considerably increased forces across the tibiofemoral joint. The actual change in force to a given degree of malalignment might, however, vary greatly between subjects. In order to additionally determine the distribution of the forces in more detail, a sufficiently accurate model of knee joint kinematics is required. In combination with MR-based in vivo imaging techniques, new mathematical models offer the possibility to capture the individual characteristics of knee kinematics and might additionally allow the effect of muscle activity on joint kinematics to be considered. By implementing these technologies in preoperative planning and navigation systems, up-to-date biomechanical knowledge can be made available at the surgeons' fingertips. We propose that optimizing the biomechanical conditions through using these approaches will allow the long-term function of the replaced joint to be significantly enhanced.