Background Hand osteoarthritis (HOA) is a complex disorder with various subtypes characterized with predominance of different features. It is challenging to estimate the severity of hand disability in HOA, since contribution of different disease components to clinical burden is yet to be clarified. The aim of the study is to investigate hand functions in nonerosive interphalangeal hand osteoarthritis (HOA) without inflammatory features, and search for effects of osteophyte formations detected by radiography and ultrasound on functionality. Methods Thirty one HOA patients and 20 healthy subjects with similar age, gender, body mass index were included. Hand functions were evaluated by self-reported questionnaires and objective strength and dexterity measurements. A total of 459 interphalangeal joints were evaluated and scored by radiography and ultrasound for ostephyte formations. Results Strength and dexterity measurements were similar between groups. Self-reported functionality was hampered in HOA group but not statistically significant. Osteophyte scores obtained by ultrasound and radiography were significantly higher in HOA group. Osteophyte scores obtained by ultrasound were higher than the scores obtained by radiography. Ultrasound scores showed no correlation with any of the parameters while osteophytes scores obtained by radiography partially showed a significant negative correlation with assembly part of dexterity testing. Conclusions No significant difference observed in hand strength and dexterity in nonerosive interphalangeal HOA patients withouth signs of inflammation when compared to healthy subjects. Osteophyte formations prominent enough to be deteceted by radiography may have a negative effect on hand dexterity.