Growth and Differentiation Factor 5 (GDF5) is a key risk locus for osteoarthritis (OA). However, little is known regarding regulation of Gdf5 expression following joint tissue damage. Here, we employed Gdf5-LacZ reporter mouse lines to assess the spatiotemporal activity of Gdf5 regulatory sequences in experimental OA following destabilisation of the medial meniscus (DMM) and after acute cartilage injury and repair. Gdf5 expression was upregulated in articular cartilage post-DMM, and was increased in human OA cartilage as determined by immunohistochemistry and microarray analysis. Gdf5 expression was also upregulated during cartilage repair in mice and was switched on in injured synovium in prospective areas of cartilage formation, where it inversely correlated with expression of the transcriptional co-factor Yes-associated protein (Yap). Indeed, overexpression of Yap suppressed Gdf5 expression in chondroprogenitors in vitro. Gdf5 expression in both mouse injury models required regulatory sequence downstream of Gdf5 coding exons. Our findings suggest that Gdf5 upregulation in articular cartilage and synovium is a generic response to knee injury that is dependent on downstream regulatory sequence and in progenitors is associated with chondrogenic specification. We propose a role for Gdf5 in tissue remodelling and repair after injury, which may partly underpin its association with OA risk.