A new gel called 'Flexiseq' has now been developed, and claims to relieve arthritic pain, restore mobility and protect against further damage when rubbed on the affected area twice a day.
And because the gel is not a drug, it reportedly has no side-effects like stomach complaints or heart problems that some treatments can cause.
Research leader Professor Philip Conaghan, of the University of Leeds, told the Daily Express that most people with osteoarthritis live with chronic pain that interferes with their daily activities and many can't take or can't tolerate current oral analgesics because of their side-effects.
He said that the new study is interesting because it suggests that a novel topical therapy, that doesn't include a topical anti-inflammatory drug, may help osteoarthritis pain and mobility.
The study has suggested that Flexiseq creates a natural lubricant for affected joints and is as good at relieving pain as the commonly-prescribed tablet Celecoxib.
The beneficial effects are said to build-up over time, meaning that patients may eventually need to apply it just once a day to stay pain-free.
The new research was a phase III trial of 1,300 patients, who were suffering from moderate pain from osteoarthritis.
At the end of the 12-week trial, 238 patients who had applied the gel twice a day reported a 39.8 percent reduction in pain.
The study has been published in the journal Rheumatology.