The majority of the older population shows signs of radiographic knee osteoarthritis. However, many remain without functional complaints for a long period. This study aims to find early functional changes associated with stages of radiographic knee osteoarthritis. A group of older people without self-reported complaints was divided in two groups: knee osteoarthritis (K&L = 2-4, N = 29) and control (K&L = 0-1, N = 31). Muscle function was assessed with voluntary and electrically-stimulated isometric knee contractions, including a fatigue test. Physical functioning was assessed with a 6-min walk test (6MWT), a stair climb test (SCT), and a short performance battery. There were no differences in muscle function parameters, 6MWT, and SCT between groups. A clinically relevant lower score on the performance battery was found in participants with knee osteoarthritis. In conclusion, even when older people indicate to have no functional limitations, a decline in functional outcome can be measured with a physical performance battery.