Empirical joint contact mechanics measurement (EJCM; e.g. contact area or force, surface velocities) enables critical investigations of the relationship between changing joint mechanics and the impact on surface-to-surface interactions. In orthopedic biomechanics, understanding the changes to cartilage contact mechanics following joint pathology or aging is critical due to its suggested role in the increased risk of osteoarthritis (OA), which might be due to changed kinematics and kinetics that alter the contact patterns within a joint. This article reviews and discusses EJCM approaches that have been applied to articulating joints such that readers across different disciplines will be informed of the various measurement and analysis techniques used in this field. The approaches reviewed include classical measurement approaches (radiographic and sectioning, dye staining, casting, surface proximity, and pressure measurement), stereophotogrammetry/motion analysis, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and high-speed videoradiography. Perspectives on approaches to advance this field of EJCM are provided, including the value of considering relative velocity in joints, tractional stress, quantification of joint contact area shape, consideration of normalization techniques, net response (superposition) of multiple input variables, and establishing linkages to regional cartilage health status. EJCM measures continue to provide insights to advance our understanding of cartilage health and degeneration and provide avenues to assess the efficacy and guide future directions of developing interventions (e.g. surgical, biological, rehabilitative) to optimize joint’s health and function long term.