Current therapeutic treatment options for osteoarthritis entail significant safety concerns. A novel ropivacaine crystalline microsuspension for bolus intra-articular (IA) delivery was thus developed and studied in a peptidoglycan polysaccharide (PGPS)-induced ankle swelling rat model. Compared with celecoxib controls, both oral and IA, ropivacaine IA treatment resulted in a significant reduction of pain upon successive PGPS reactivation, as demonstrated in two different pain models, gait analysis and incapacitance testing. The reduction in pain was attended by a significant reduction in histological inflammation, which in turn was accompanied by significant reductions in the cytokines IL-18 and IL-1β. This may have been due to inhibition of substance P, which was also significantly reduced. Pharmacokinetic analysis indicated that the analgesic effects outlasted measurable ropivacaine levels in either blood or tissue. The results are discussed in the context of pharmacologic mechanisms both of local anesthetics as well as inflammatory arthritis.