Postmeniscectomy osteoarthritis (OA) is hypothesized to be the consequence of abnormal mechanical conditions, but the relationship between postsurgical alterations in articular cartilage strain and in vivo biomechanical/biochemical changes in articular cartilage is unclear. We hypothesized that spatial variations in cartilage nominal strain (percentile thickness change) would correlate with previously reported in vivo articular cartilage property changes following meniscectomy. Cadevaric sheep knees were loaded in cyclic compression which was previously developed to mimic normal sheep gait, while a 4.7 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imaged the whole joint. 3D cartilage strain maps were compared with in vivo sheep studies that described postmeniscectomy changes in shear modulus, phase lag, proteoglycan content and collagen organization/content in the articular cartilage. The area of articular cartilage experiencing high (overloaded) and low (underloaded) strain was significantly increased in the meniscectomized tibial compartment by 10% and 25%, respectively, while no significant changes were found in the nonmeniscectomized compartment. The overloaded and underloaded regions of articular cartilage in our in vitro specimens correlated with regions of in vivo shear modulus reduction. Glycosaminoglycans (GAG) content only increased at the underloaded articular cartilage but decreased at the overloaded articular cartilage. No significant correlation was found in phase lag and collagen organization/content changes with the strain variation. Comparisons between postsurgical nominal strain and in vivo cartilage property changes suggest that both overloading and underloading after meniscectomy may directly damage the cartilage matrix stiffness (shear modulus). Disruption of superficial cartilage by overloading might be responsible for the proteoglycan (GAG) loss in the early stage of postmeniscectomy OA.