Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal disorders globally, and treating OA remains a significant challenge. Currently, pharmacological treatments primarily aim to alleviate the OA symptoms associated with inflammation and pain, and no disease-modifying therapies are available to delay OA development and progression. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an essential role in OA development and progression, which are a promising target for curing OA. In this study, it was found that photothermal properties of near-infrared (NIR) irradiation enhanced the ROS scavenging activity of molybdenum-based polyoxometalate (POM) nanoclusters. Because of enhanced ROS scavenging, NIR-responsive POM nanoclusters were developed as novel excellent nano-antioxidants for OA protection. The results demonstrated that NIR-responsive POM exhibited outstanding antioxidant activity and superexcellent anti-inflammatory effects, which could effectively alleviate the clinical symptoms of OA mice, diminish inflammatory cytokines, reduce catabolic proteases, and mitigate the progression of OA. Meanwhile, the local treatment had no side effects on normal tissues. Thus, this study pioneered the application of POM for alleviating OA with expected safety and efficiency.