An efficient 2-D continuum finite element method (FEM), including the rigid body algorithm and our previously developed contact element, was formulated for the contact stress analysis of articular joints. This FEM can calculate the contact pressure distribution on articular surfaces and stress distribution inside of cartilage. This method can model geometric and material nonlinearities for both the static and dynamic situations. The major advantage of this method is that only the soft cartilage requires finite element (FE) mesh, while the bony structure can be modeled as a rigid body due to its relatively rigid nature. Since much less degrees of freedom are now required in FEM, much faster computing speed can be achieved.